A high school football team in Colorado was denied permission by the school district to honor the military by wearing the names of fallen service members on the back of their jerseys.
The Poudre School District denied a request made by the Fossil Ridge High School football team to honor those who died fighting for our freedom, saying that the action would open the doors to requests from other caused to do something similar.
The team's effort began in June when Coach Brian Tinker, with the help of veteran and parent of a Fossil Ridge student Lt. Col. Randy Russell, started a "crucible experience" of military-style workouts for the team. They also encourage members of the team to research the fallen soldiers that they would be honoring.
"Ultimately, we culminated in a hike that took place Monday night," said Russell. "Throughout that hike, they had the opportunity to stand up and speak about their fallen hero and then we used that as a teaching point for the character and values that were demonstrated during the lives of those fallen heroes."
Russell made a list of fallen service members, that spanned many years and places across the country. The soldiers' names were to be placed on the team's jerseys in lieu of the players' names.
Lt. Col. Russell said that the players responded positively to the idea and that he was excited about the opportunity to help the students grow into better men.
The school district said that their decision was based on the National Federation of State High School Association's rule that only player names and team names are allowed game jerseys, and also that the district maintains the authority to determine what is added to the official game jerseys.
The district also said that complying with the team's request would mean that they have to give other causes the same opportunity.
In a statement, the district said, "Sometimes PSD has to deny a request to avoid unintended consequences."
Russell said that he adamantly disagrees with the district's decision, but that he and the students are looking for other appropriate ways to honor the military.