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[Student Forced To Remove "Gang-Style" Gators Shirt

POSTED: 4:30 pm EST January 30, 2007

UPDATED: 9:08 am EST January 31, 2007

SAINT CLOUD, Fla. -- Two Osceola County parents said their son was humiliated at school when he was suspected of wearing "gang-style" clothing. Saint Cloud Middle School said only a handful of students were searched last week when they got a complaint.

The parents told Eyewitness News, if their son was wearing low baggy pants or a bandana, by all means he should have been sent home, but he wasn't. He was wearing a Florida Gators t-shirt.

Robert and Sara Crosby can't understand how their son could be connected to gang activity, especially by wearing a Gators t-shirt.

"Embarrassed. He was very upset. He said he kept asking the police officer if he looked like a gang member," Sara Crosby said.

The 7th grader wore blue jeans and a Gators shirt to school last week, on a day Saint Cloud Middle School just happened to be on the lookout for students donning so-called gang colors.

Sara Crosby said the school never told her about the search.

"I don't think it's fair what they're doing. The parents have no notice of what's going on," she said.

Osceola County Schools said the school doesn't have to notify parents, because it's a safety issue. A spokesperson for the school system also couldn't confirm or deny Crosby's son was searched.

Sara said her son was forced to change into his gym shirt.

"And that's what he had to wear all day," she said.

Seventh grader David Polito said he saw another student targeted for wearing a simple t-shirt.

"I have a DC [shoes] shirt. They sent a kid home for a blue and white one like that," Polito told Eyewitness News.

The school system is downplaying the crackdown, telling Eyewitness News it's a non-issue. But, for the Crosbys, it obviously is.

"It'd be different if it wasn't a Florida Gators t-shirt. That's all it was," Sara Crosby said.

Osceola County Schools also said there is no dress code change and insists everything is back to normal now.

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