Poudre School District has denied the Fossil Ridge High School football team’s compromise plan to memorialize fallen members of the U.S. armed forces.
On Saturday, the Fossil Ridge booster club announced that it would wear an American flag patch in addition to a personalized black patch with the name of a fallen service member on it. This was a concession after PSD denied the team’s original request to wear the names across the back of its camouflage uniforms for military appreciation night Oct. 15.
Fossil Ridge booster club president Heather Edridge met with PSD officials Sunday about the team’s decision, but the district was not satisfied, instead requiring the team to wear generic patches without names on them.
The booster club and coach Brian Tinker have conceded to the district, saying at this point it’s time to stop fighting the district and focus on classes and football.
A statement from PSD late Tuesday said the patches will read “In Honor of Our Fallen Heroes.”
The team switched to the patch to comply with what PSD said were state and national rules restricting names on the back of a jersey to a player or team name. The National Federation of State High School Associations, however, does not limit names on the uniforms of home teams.
In regard to patches, the NFHS rule — adopted by CHSAA — reads as follows: One American flag, not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity.
Since June, the Fossil Ridge football team has been participating in military training routines and education in order to earn new camouflage uniforms. Every player was assigned a fallen service member whom they were required to research. Fossil Ridge hoped to place those soldiers’ names on patches.
“One of the intended outcomes of this project was to personalize the sacrifices of these heroes to each player that represented them,” said Lt. Colonel Randy Russell, the father of a Fossil Ridge player. “In this decision, PSD is now doing just (the) opposite, they are making these sacrifices nameless. I am appalled by this thinking.”
Russell added that, out of concern the district might retaliate against the booster club, he is now speaking as a concerned veteran and parent, not as a team representative.
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