Did you see this yet?
Not everyone is ready for some football.
Ahead of Sunday’s opening game between Denver and the Pittsburgh Steelers, one Colorado school district has decided to gang up on an 8-year-old student who was prohibited from wearing Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s No. 18 football jersey to class.
The Weld County School Systems is sticking to its guns – or a policy – that prevents No. 18 on clothing worn in school because it is believed to represent gang affiliations.
“They told me I couldn’t wear 18 anymore because it’s a gang number and I had to take it off,” said Konnor Vanatta, during an interview with FOX31 Denver before Sunday’s big regular-season game, the first for Manning since his trade to Denver in the offseason after a hall-of-fame-worthy career with Indianapolis Colts.
A spokesperson for Weld County District 6 explained the policy has been around for more than three years and applies to the numbers 13, 14, 18, 31, 41 and 81.
“Peyton Manning’s been my favorite football player for a long time,” said Vannatta, who wore a No. 61 jersey the following day to protest the policy and was met without restraint.
His mother, Pam Vanatta, also thinks the penalty is uncalled for and should be further reviewed.
“I’m pretty upset the schools have come down to this and I think they need to start paying attention to the education the children are getting rather than then what they’re wearing,” said the student’s mother.
The school is standing by its call.
“We’re Broncos fans ourselves, it has nothing to do with that we’re just wanting to set a consistent solid, example,” said spokesperson Roger Fiedler. “We do try to really discourage and take a stance on any sort of clothing or display of gang-affiliated material or signage.”
Pam Vanatta said the family is all for school safety, but this time the No. 18 should be celebrated, not feared.
Okay, so why is #18 feared? Who knew? Why, Wikipedia, of course!
18th Street gang, also known as M18, Calle 18, Barrio 18, La18 or Mara-18 in Central America, is a multi-ethnic transnational criminal organization that started as a street gang in the Rampart area of Los Angeles, California. They are considered to be the largest transnational criminal street gang in Los Angeles and it is estimated that there are tens of thousands of members in Los Angeles County alone.
18th Street gang members are required to abide by a strict set of rules. Failure to obey the word of a gang leader, or to show proper respect to a fellow gang member, may result in an 18-second beating, or even execution for more serious offenses. According to the FBI, some factions of the 18th Street gang have developed a high level of sophistication and organization. The 18th Street gang is of Chicanoorigin and was formed by Mexican-American youth who were not accepted in the existing American gangs. 18th Street gang members often identify themselves with the number 18 on their clothing and sporting clothing from sports teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers and Oakland Raiders. 18th Street will use the symbols XV3, XVIII, 666, 99,(9+9=18), and 3-dots in their graffiti and tattoos. 18th Street colors are black, blue. Blue is to represent Sureños (despite being a non-Sureños affiliate), the gangs from the oldest barrios in Southern California, and black is to represent the original color for the gang. The 18th Street gang is occasionally referred to as the “Children’s Army” because of its recruitment of elementary and middle-school aged youth.
And why do I care, in the first place? There’s all kinds of other garbage going on that I don’t comment on. But the truth is that the number 18 is considered a special one in Judaism, since it is the numerical value of the the word Life–חי, with the ח being the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the י being the 10th, so 10 +8…
And if you have to ask why Life should be a value, well, then, we’ve got much bigger problems.