GREELEY, CO (WTVR) – This NFL season is slated to be an exciting one for Denver Broncos fans, as Peyton Manning is set to take the field as their new quarterback this season. But, some of Manning’s youngest fans are pretty disappointed, after their district announces his Jersey’s are banned from their schools.
Eight year old Konnor Vanatta begged his mom for his Manning jersey, only to find out he can’t wear it inside his Weld County School.The reason: Peyton’s number, 18.
According to the school district six – the number 18 is considered to be part of gang culture – and is effectively banned inside the classroom
To be clear, the school doesn’t ban all jerseys just the ones with specific numbers that they deem to be a part of gang culture.
School district officials say the ban on the number 18 has been around for years and has nothing to do with Peyton manning.
The number 18 is one of a handful the district says can be associated with gang violence and is banned altogether.
“We’re broncos fans ourselves, so it has nothing to do with that,” said Roger Fiedler, a school spokesman. “it’s just wanting to set a consistent, solid example.”
According to the Denver Post, the 18th street gang is active in the area, and just last year five members were sentenced for violating that state’s anti-racketeering law.
Konor and his family say they’re all for safety, but still believe in third grade – the number 18 should be celebrated and not feared.
“I’m pretty upset about it, pretty upset that the schools have come down to this,” said Pam Vanatta, Konor’s mom. “I think they need to start paying attention more to the education that the children are getting rather than then what they’re wearing.”
The school says this is just one component of a dress code aimed at creating a healthy, violence free environment. Items of clothing like long trench coats and red or blue shoe laces. The number 18 isn’t the only one singled out either, 13, 14, 131, 41 or 81 are not allowed either.