School district won't allow military names on sports jerseys

AP News
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Posted: Aug 20, 2015 3:53 PM

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — The Poudre School District in northern Colorado has denied a request from the Fossil Ridge High School football team to individually honor fallen members of the U.S. armed forces by putting their names on the back of their jerseys, saying the district is worried it could open the door to similar requests for other causes.

Players had requested the school outfit the team with camouflage uniforms this season. Coach Brian Tinker required his team to study military training, and every player was required to research the family and background of a deceased member of the armed forces.

The school district said it had no choice, the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper reported Thursday (http://tinyurl.com/pdgennv).

"Unlike the National Football League, which can use uniforms to support specific causes, public high schools do not typically use school property, such as team jerseys, in this manner," the district said. The district said the ruling was not intended to be unpatriotic.

The Colorado High School Activities Association, which oversees high school athletics in Colorado, has bylaws that limit teams to a 4-square-inch memorial patch on uniforms. The bylaws are the same as the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The school district said its policy is intended to protect students from being used for promotional purposes.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said it sees no immediate violation of the students' civil rights because it is a district-wide policy.