OLIVEHURST, CA (Fox 40) - A 12-year-old honor student at Yuba Gardens Intermediate school was given a dress code violation that is being heavily disputed.
According to FOX 40, Lori Carpenter had bought a blue patriotic T-shirt with an American flag design from Kohl’s for her son, Dustin Cole—but Last week Dustin came home from school wearing the T-shirt inside out.
"I asked him why," Carpenter said. "He said he was 'dress coded' at school because the stars were gang related."
Dustin Cole is a well-behaved honor student with a clean record. However, school officials still argue that his simple patriotic shirt is disruptive, claiming that it blurs the line between freedom of speech and a safety risk. The worry that it signifies gang affiliation.
"Our local gang task force, they identify colors, they identify designs, they identify all of the things that we should be aware of," Assistant Superintendent at Marysville Joint Unified School District, Ramiro Carreon said.
With Cole’s specific T-shirt, officials say that the red star on the top right of the shirt is often associated with the local Norteno gang.
"That design has been associated with gangs in the past, and we cannot just turn a blind eye to that," Carreon said.
According to FOX 40 and school officials, Dustin immediately complied with the principal's request to turn his shirt inside out.
However, Dustin’s parents are concerned this issue was taken too far at the cost of their son.
"I mean, they are trying to keep everybody safe. I understand, but it feels like it is a little too far. Especially when it is a patriotic shirt," Carpenter said.
Carpenter states that she will need to be more observant when purchasing clothes for her sons in the future.