A family of Michigan fans won a dress code battle against Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The school board announced changes to its antiquated dress code policy at its regular Board meeting Monday. The dress code change is a result of a tiny fan and parents who wouldn't back down.
The outdated policy was enforced last month when 5-year-old Cooper Barton was forced to turn his Michigan shirt inside out. His parents were outraged, the uproar about the district's dress code policy put Oklahoma in the national spotlight.
"The fact that the story took off the way it did [is shocking]. We were looking for support from the neighborhood, not the entire world," Chris Barton said.
Cooper Barton became a national star after the 5-year-old was instructed to hide behind a tree at Wilson elementary while he turned his tiny t-shirt inside out.
"Other kids were allowed to come out with OKC Thunder shirts on and things like that [like go Irish]. The point being, if you are going to have a rule, enforce the rule for everybody," said Chris Barton, Cooper's father.
The ACLU encouraged superintendent Karl Springer to revamp the policy, originally intended to discourage kids from wearing gang paraphernalia at school. The rule even applied to kindergartners like Cooper, until it was suspended at Monday's board meeting.
"This is a story that has really reflected poorly on us throughout the country, as a result of one outdated measure that really was not proper the day it was enacted," said Brady Henderson of the ACLU.
Not only was the policy changed, the family got free Wolverine game tickets out of the deal. They are heading to a Michigan game Friday and say for the record, they are Thunder fans.
Oklahoma City Public Schools released the following statement:
At the recommendation of staff legal counsel, I am suspending the portion of School Dress Code Regulation J-50-R1, item number 6, that prohibits students from wearing "clothing bearing the names or emblems of all professional and collegiate teams (With the exception of Oklahoma colleges and universities)." The suspension of this action will allow students at 17 non-uniform OKCPS schools to wear all collegiate, university, and professional emblems to school.
During the next sixty days, the administration shall form a committee comprised of parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and a representative from the Oklahoma City Police Department Gang Task Force Unit to review Regulation J-50-R1 and report findings, and/or proposed changes to the District Administration and Board of Education.
It is critical during this time of review and research that we look at the safety and security of the regulation as well as making certain that the commitment to student's First Amendment Rights are respected and honored.
Karl Springer, Superintendent
OKCPS Sites That DO NOT Currently Have A School Uniform Policy:
Elementary Schools: High Schools:
Bodine Elementary Classen School of Advanced Studies
Edgemere Elementary Pathways Middle College
Eugene Field Elementary NW Classen High School
Green Pastures Elementary Southeast High School
Prairie Queen Elementary
Southern Hills Elementary
Willow Brook Elementary
ALL OKCPS middle schools currently have a school uniform policy.