WELD COUNTY, Colo. - Students at one Weld County, Colorado school district are banned from wearing a Peyton Manning jersey to school, not because of the player, but because of his number.
The Weld County District 6, which includes schools in Greeley and Evans, dress code prohibits students from wearing certain numbers they say are gang-related; including the number 13, 14, 31, 41, 81 and Manning’s 18.
Bandanas and certain colors are also included.
“Those are all things that are used to attempt to get kids involved in the gang activity,” said Joe Tymkowych, a spokesperson for the Greeley Police Dept.
He says the department supports the school’s decision, as unfortunate as it might be for Manning fans.
He says, in the end, the department believes the ban has helped lower recent gang activity at schools.
"It’s not something you can actually measure,” Tymkowych said, “but we believe it does have an impact.”
However, for students, it can be a setback coming on the week the Bronco’s head to the Super Bowl.
“I have a number 18 jersey and it’s kind of bad when I can’t wear it to school,” said a student who goes to one of the district's high schools.
Christina Brown, whose daughter is a Senior at Central High School understands.
“I think that this school has the interest of the children and the safety of the children at mind,” she said.
Dr. Deirdre Pilch, superintendent for the district released the following statement regarding the ban:
“Yes, the numbers 18, 81, 13, 31, 14 and 41 are prohibited under the policy. They are meaningful to the gang culture. We have not ‘banned’ Bronco attire or celebrating the accomplishments of the team. We have had no known complaints from parents, students or staff about this policy in recent years. It is simply an expectation in our schools, and it is part of our safe-school culture.”