This is a free country, and freedom of expression is considered paramount among the liberties that have been indoctrinated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Evidently those freedoms don’t necessarily carry over to schools in Arizona, however, where teens are being sent home for wearing Steelers colors to school.
The banishment in question, according to Pittsburgh TV station WPXI, came at the expense of 13-year-0ld Tristan Carrick, a Stepping Stones Academy student who dared trespass by wearing black and gold to school for Stepping Stones’ “Spirit Day”.
The school’s justification for giving Carrick the boot was that his jersey wasn’t red and white — as stipulated by the “Spirit Day” manifesto, which, evidently, had been hastily created the day before and goes completely against a student’s right to express himself through his choice of apparel (there’s art in there somewhere).
It’s worth noting that Carrick isn’t a Johnnie Come Lately on the Steelers bandwagon. The teen’s family hails from Pittsburgh, and he inherited the team like any other self-respecting kid growing up in Arizona during an era of absolutely insidious Cardinals football. When Jake Plummer is your Obe Wan Kenobi-style hope for respectability, you might not be a franchise worth rooting for.
Should Carrick have known better than to wear a Hines Ward jersey at a Phoenix academy? Sure. Should he have been sent home for doing so? No way.
Then again, for Arizona that’s getting off easy. Remember, this is the land of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, so leniency doesn’t exactly come cheap. If you can get off without spending time in a tent city or wearing pink underwear, well, you’re probably best served to pack it in and call it a day.