Escalon Schools Offer Compromise after Students Told Not to Wear Football Jerseys

ESCALON -- Parents of a youth football team are incensed that about 20 team members were called into the office at El Portal Middle School and told to take their jerseys off.

The Outlaws Youth Football and Cheer program has a 30-year history in the community and wearing the jerseys were thought to be a sign of pride and unity. In fact, team jerseys are routinely worn on campus by members of school and off-campus teams.

But team officials were told that groups of Outlaws team members gathering on campus was intimidating.

"I can't wrap my head around that because that smacks of discrimination against one team," said Jessica Rozevink, whose 12-year-old son was affected.

The issue has been a concern off and on over the years with policies changing with new school administrations. Parents say team members in the district's elementary schools are allowed to wear them.

Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa says there have been bullying issues and exclusionary behavior in the past and that school principals are allowed some discretion when it comes to dress codes.

But some parents say that has lead to "unwritten" rules that are vague and inconsistently applied.

After a meeting with school officials team officials they were offered a compromise on a trial basis. Team gear could be worn at any time and team jerseys could be worn only before home games for the team.

Some parents weren't satisfied and plan to make their feelings known at the school district board meeting on Tuesday.