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Students at a Colorado school district better dust off their Tim Tebow jerseys, because the school banned anyone from wearing a Peyton Manning jersey at their schools.
The ban is nothing personal against the Denver Broncos new quarterback. If anything else, Manning is by all accounts an excellent role model and the key cog in the fortunes of the Broncos.
However, Manning has also worn the number 18 throughout his career. While that number may have been innocuous in Indianapolis (where he used to play), the number is associated with the 18th Street gang in the Denver area, and so runs afoul of the district anti-gang dress policy, reports The Denver Post.
Since 2008, the Greeley-Evans School District in Colorado imposed a strict dress code that forbids students from wearing clothing that could be associated with gangs, including jerseys with the number 18, which could represent the 18th Street gang, reports the Post.
However, as there have been no notable Broncos who have worn 18, the dress code ban has never been a problem. But that all changed once Peyton Manning decided to sign with the Broncos and his jersey became one of the most popular in Colorado.
To show that the school district isn't discriminating against Peyton Manning or the number 18, the district also bans the numbers 13 and 14 as they are associated with the Sureño and Norteño gangs, as well as their reverse numbers 31, 41, and even 81. Students are also not allowed to wear many blue- and red-colored clothing as these are also associated with these gangs.
Angry parents are now complaining that their children cannot wear the popular jerseys, reports the Post. But as the Peyton Manning jersey ban seems tied to a valid safety measure (to minimize gang activity), it's not clear what legal remedy the parents have.
Still, while it may not be worth it to sue the district over the jersey, the negative publicity against the school district may cause the district to lift the ban anyway.