Senior Sweatshirt Roman Numerals Confused with Gang Sign

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Gang colors and insignia are usually forbidden by campus dress codes, but these days in Elk Grove at least one notorious symbol is on display – inadvertently.

“I just don’t think it’s that important to be worried about,” said Cosumnes Oaks senior Jazmin Dennie, about the symbol now on a coveted senior goodie – this year’s senior sweatshirt.

No surprise the sweatshirt Dennie ordered right along with almost 500 fellow seniors features the year they’ll graduate – 2014.

The surprise for many on campus is that “14,” written in roman numerals, is used by the Hispanic street gang, the Nortenos.

Dennie said she had no idea the connection existed.

“It was certainly something that was done in complete innocence,” said Liz Graswich with the Elk Grove Unified School District.

The district was tipped off about the connection by a parent phone call.

According to Graswich, the student-designed sweatshirt was meant to build on the Roman theme the class of 2014 chose for homecoming.

A note explaining the situation was sent home to parents Monday, offering to refund that part of a $500 senior package if families feared for their student’s safety.

Despite the potential of being spotted by gang members wearing a gang symbol, Dennie says the hoodies are being worn every day at school.

“Yeah, a lot of people do [wear them].  Some of them are concerned after all of the publicity about it, but a lot of people aren’t scared. I don’t they’re concerned about students wearing it.  I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” said Dennie.

So far, only one family has chosen to take the district up on its refund offer.

And with seniors out and about in the community and having just enjoyed a class trip to Great America, no sweatshirt-related incidents have been reported.

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