Last Modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:47 PM
When Kimberly Williams Lewis’ son dressed for his first day of middle school Monday morning, he had no idea that his decision to wear a hunter green uniform shirt with his khaki shorts would be controversial.
As he walked into the gym at Oak Park Middle where the other students were gathered before home room, he heard whispers and saw other students pointing and laughing at him.
As he looked around the gym, he saw that he was the only student in the school wearing a hunter green shirt.
Lewis said that when he sat down in the bleachers the other students behind him called him “doo-doo boy” and other names. Embarrassed, her son tried to use his binder to hide his shirt.
“I ran home to get him a new shirt and brought it back to school, but it was already too late,” Lewis said.
She said she asked the school’s assistant principal about the other students only wearing blue and white and was told that “children are terribly teased if they wear this hunter green uniform shirt.”
The Calcasieu Parish uniform policy allows students to wear shirts in white, hunter green or navy blue. But at Oak Park and other area middle schools, the blue and white shirts are the only appropriate choices, according to Lewis.
“The more I asked around the more other people said it happened to them. One lady said her kid cried in the store and begged her not to buy a green shirt. Another had a younger child with older siblings in middle school who made fun of their little brother when he wore a green shirt,” Lewis said.
“It’s a huge issue that no one seems to address.”
Lewis posted her son’s experience on Facebook and started a Facebook group called “Wear No Green or Be Bullied” to raise awareness of the issue. She also started an online petition at Change.org for concerned parents and community members to sign.
However, Martin Guillory, the Oak Park Middle School principal, said that Lewis’ son’s experience was “a very rare occurrence.”
“Green shirts are a part of middle school uniform policy,” Guillory said. “I don’t respond to parents on social media, but parents can come talk with me about specific issues.”
Charlotte Gallemore, the administrative director of middle schools, discussed the issue with all district middle school principals after hearing of the incident.
“Nobody has banned the green shirts, but all the principals said the children don’t really like to wear the green shirts. They said most children prefer white shirts,” Gallemore said.
She said Oak Park Middle School even held a “Green Shirt Day” last year and offered the students the chance to wear jeans if they wore a green uniform shirt, but “the students wouldn’t do it.”
Mack Dellafosse, the District 7 School Board member, said he first heard of the green shirt issue two years ago when his son started school at F.K. White Middle School and was told by other students of the social stigma surrounding green shirts.
He said his family chose to buy the blue and white shirts instead of pressing the issue. He said the School Board should issue a memo in regard to the problem.
“It’s been going on for years and I’m assuming things are probably getting worse. It’s a cruel deal,” Dellafosse said.
“We can use this to get the word out that this is a form of bullying. The principals should be saying to their students that no form of bullying is tolerated.”
Lewis hopes to get at least 500 signatures on her petition and plans to bring it before the School Board at a future meeting.
Posted By: Gwen On: 8/17/2012
Title: @ stick with real issue
You are just as ignorant as the kids that's doing the Bullying
Posted By: Jim On: 8/16/2012
Title: Where are the School Responses
It's hard to believe that all of this back and forth correspondence, bickering to some degree, has been occurring for two full days now and there is still no input from the target of the issue; representative(s) of the schools. Furthermore, as I drove through at least two school zones during the past couple of days, I've taken note of the many school kids (younger and older) wearing green colored shirts to school. Now it would seem, though I'm just presuming, that if there were a credible problem as some have alluded to in this multi-string conversation, someone in the school system would have by now; elected to enact some sort of resolve to the situation.
Addtionally, being a very literal person, I would like to see some solid evidence that provided by the school system in question that supports any past complaints regarding the wearing of green, or for that fact ANY color of school shirt and/or uniform accessory. Information of this nature is maintained as record, is it not? I mean schools do keep records of parents and/or children's complaints for furture reference.
And if I may say, those who continue to respond with meaningful purpose should be applauded. Even if one may disagree with the opinion of others. Thank you.
Posted By: Enough Already On: 8/16/2012
Title: Amusing at Best
Kimberly and Shalonda
Posted By: cathy On: 8/16/2012
I might have a simple solution to all the children that want to be bullies. I am surprised that our school superintendent needs me to come up with the solution. You want the children in uniform then make every student in all Calcasieu parish wear a green shirt on a certain day" mantory" .This will stop the bulling about wearing green shirts. Our kids should be going to school to learn not bullied on what color of shirt you wear.
Shame, Shame on Calcasieu parish school board for allowing this to go on.this long. Makes me wonder if you all hear to help kids are get a pay check
Posted By: KIMBERLY LEWIS On: 8/16/2012
Bullying is an issue that is almost ALWAYS solved after the fact and after the damage has been done. Once a kid is a victim of bullying it can not be dealt with. Sure we can punish the kid, but the damage has already been done.
Whenever kids just stop liking green altogether...the damage has already been done! How has this been kept under wraps for at least the past 5 years? Some say address the principals...but based on the 1300 people that responded to this issue, this has already been done and the problem is only worsening. From my experience and being told by a top official that was already aware of the problem..... parents would not be in such an outrage for not even knowing why their kids are refusing to wear the green shirt. Sometimes social media is the best way to get a problem recognized...especially if it's a problem that has been longstanding and have gone unresolved for years.
#Let's be PROACTIVE about this issue!
Posted By: Shalonda Jupiter On: 8/16/2012
Title: RESPONSE TO MAKABEE
This comment is in response to MACKABEE
"Is that what you as a parent see as a resolve to a truly trivial matter? Maybe you both need to look a little closer at what your insinuating given that kids typically associate what their parents think and believe as what needs to be put into action. You're basically alluding to that appraoch being the resolve."
I see you are another who comments on something and have not read the WHOLE STORY. Let me break it down for you. What color a child wears to school is trivial, it becomes a issue and a problem when the "trivial" turns into teasing and bullying. I guess you missed the part in the story where she spoke to the Asst. Principal.
I REFUSE TO EVEN ENTERTAIN YOUR COMMENT ON CHILDREN'S APPROACH AND DO WHAT THEY THINK I PARENT WOULD WANT.
YOUR COMMENT ISN'T ONLY IGNORANT IT'S COMICAL.
Posted By: Tameka On: 8/15/2012
Title: Its a Big Issue, Deal w/ It and Shut up! May Hit National News, Then You are Surely Outnumbered.
Children are already given too many priveleges. They should NOT be given an option as to what the dresscodes should be at a public school. Private schools have not sat down with their legs crossed in a circle asking the kids, what should we wear next year. In no way should they be given more power. I applaud your response Max on your daughters were maturing and chose otherwise away from Green. The issue is not when your child chose to mature and better their appearance by choosing the shirt that looks better on their skin; it is the teasing and bullying occuring when a child does want to wear the GREEN shirt. In my day, all 5 of my siblings and me would have BEAT THE CRAP out of that bully and wore the hell out of the GREEN shirt. Reason: my aunt would not have agreed to let us mature into wearing whatever we wanted. If she purchased the shirt (we were not allowed to go with her), oh we were going to wear it. How many parents want their BULLYING ass child to return home with a broken nose, bust lip, and 2 black eyes because they picked the wrong person to bully. Yes, children are more unique with style and may just hate that green shirt; however, it does not fix the issue for the kids who really want to wear the shirt and feel that they cannot because NO ONE WILL PROTECT THEM FROM THE BULLIES. As a parent, I would stand up and do the same, media first school officials second. If they already know this problem exist, going to them at this point would solve nothing. Media makes them move their damn feet quicker.
Posted By: KIMBERLY LEWIS On: 8/15/2012
Title: To you MACKABEE
Talking to principals has OBVIOUSLY gotten NO results if hundreds of parents are having this EXACT same issue and have previously taken these routes... see for yourself at
1300 PEOPLE are not supporting this for NO REASON.
A SCHOOL BOARD OFFICIAL has acknowledge this fact as well from personal experience years ago!
And YES as a DEGREED individual in the field of SOCIAL SERVICES... this is a big problem that is growing by the day in case you haven't notice. But IGNORANT individuals as yourself tend not to recognize REAL issues until they hit home! Say what you want, feel how you want.....OBVIOUSLY MY approach has been affective because it got YOU taking the time out to make a comment about it! If my words are offensive, you must have a reason to feel OFFENDED! Good day!
Posted By: Monica Key On: 8/15/2012
Title: kids are cruel
get used to it
Posted By: Mackabee On: 8/15/2012
This is ludicrous already people! To Kimberly and Shalonda; are your social skills literally built on your kids commiting suicide for someone picking on them? Is that what you as a parent see as a resolve to a truly trivial matter? Maybe you both need to look a little closer at what your insinuating given that kids typically associate what their parents think and believe as what needs to be put into action. You're basically alluding to that appraoch being the resolve.
Come on....deal with the issue like an adult should. Go at the grown ups (e.g. the Principles, teachers, etc..) who can make the change; and stop insinuating that kids must take their own lives to fix a problem. Your words are not only offensive, they're disgusting to say the least.
Posted By: SCRUNT On: 8/15/2012
Title: Green Shirt aka Bullying
OK Dummies. If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem. If you think that your child should be harassed, called names and bullied just because of the color of a shirt than your kid is probably the bully. OLQH just completed a commericial on bullying and won numerous awards for it. You may want to look it up on UTube Especially if you are one of the stupid parents that don't know the definition of bullying.
Mr. Principle recognize the problem before it is too late. It begins with a green shirt and will esculate. ZERO TOLERANCE OR FIND ANOTHER JOB.
Posted By: KIMBERLY LEWIS On: 8/15/2012
Title: The REAL issue!
The REAL issue is not the green shirt, it's the bullying! If my son would have came home and killed himself, then you would be saying the parent should have been more involved in her child's life and knew that this was going on. Lady GET REAL! If defending my kid makes me a whiny parent, then call me the biggest crybaby you know! It's parent's like you that raise these bullies... primarily because of their lack of self esteem! Tell that to these 1200 whiny parents!
Posted By: Shalonda Jupiter On: 8/15/2012
Title: Concerned Parent
This is in response to "STICK WITH THE REAL ISSUES".
"There are REAL educational issues to deal with and here we are, already, in the first week of school having to listen to whiny parents regarding their children being "allegedly" picked on for wearing a certain color shirt. REALLY?"
Since when has being a CONCERNED PARENT turned into being a "WHINY" parent? Obviously you have not read the story in it's entirety before you chose to post a comment on a ISSUE you know NOTHING about! Sorry to inform you, but you are the one who knows NOTHING ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON! THE ISSUE IS: Uniforms were implemented based on these reasoning.
(Decreasing violence and theft--even life-threatening situations--among students over designer clothing or expensive sneakers. Helping prevent gang members from wearing gang colors and insignia at school. Instilling discipline in students. Helping parents and students resist peer pressure. Helping students concentrate on their school work.
Helping school officials recognize intruders who come to the school.) With that being said, The Mother who posted on this topic was unaware when she sent her Son to middle school for the first time, that if you wear a GREEN shirt you will be BULLIED and PICKED ON for wearing that certain color shirt. The Mother who was in the gymnasium saw the Asst. Principal and asked why were all the children dressed in blue and white and nobody had on green (A ENTIRE SCHOOL WITH ONLY WHITE & BLUE UNIFORM TOPS) and the Asst. Principal stated, "Oh yes, if the children wear green they will be picked on, but he should be alright for the day." Meaning, Ok, your Son wore green today, but if he continues to wear it, he will be picked on. What is it going to take? A child to commit suicide because he is being picked on at school? Than the next issue would be, Oh the Parent should have been more involved in the Child's life.
FURTHERMORE, The Definition of "Bullying" consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal, and physical. So in this particular case VERBAL bullying was demonstrated because her son wore a green school uniform and was called derogatory and hurtful names which does NOT make for a positive learning environment (YOU KNOW THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF GOING TO SCHOOL). It's wonderful that this Mother took a stand for her Child, I as a mother of a 7yr old would have done the same thing. Great job Mrs. Lewis we need more CONCERNED & INVOLVED parents like you around!!!!
Posted By: DAWN On: 8/15/2012
Title: no green shirt issue
okay, so you dont want anyone to complain about the no green shirt issue but what the hell happens a child does not talk to their parents or any adult about it and ends up Dead bc of being bullied behind a dam green shirt because this could happend? so then would it be a BIGGER issue when that happens. im complaining because if school admins. see this going on then why not pull the children who are bullying aside and tell them something about it. Why allow this to go on in our schools? please answer that. WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN STOPPED, YES ITS CHILDREN BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD DOES SOMETHING TRAGIC TO THEMSELVES! NOT ALL PARENTS ARE INVOLVED WITH THEIR KIDS.
Posted By: Candice On: 8/15/2012
Title: Thought uniforms was to stop the bullying?!?!
Wow don't know what to say. Kids are cruel Middle School is the worse!
I think if uniforms are that big of an issue now, why still have em?
But kids will find anything to pick on another for. The real issue is the
Faculty that gets paid for " teaching & watching" our children need to
Step up to the plate and have disciplinary action for bullying!!!
Posted By: Greg On: 8/15/2012
Title: DU DU
My son goes to FK White, and I thought he was just exxagerating about the green shirts. But I see why he will not wear a green shirt, period.
Posted By: Ne'Cole On: 8/15/2012
Title: its not rare at all
I'm a senior this year and kids have been getting teased over the green shirt since i was in the 4 grade that i can remember. I went to oak park but when I was there we were also allowed to wear baby blue, and gold shirts but it was stopped due to kids wearing any shade of blue and the wrong gold / yellow. And as for green the only time I would see anyone wearing it was if it was a female and was a different green ( light green) which were areopostle but they didnt want kids wearing that brand due to how the shirts are made
Posted By: serena On: 8/15/2012
seems like they need to start wearing street clothes back to school because the uniforms are becoming a problem
Posted By: concerned parent On: 8/15/2012
Title: shame on the school board
Its a shame that we have members of the board condoning this issue and trying to downplay it by the kids dont really like to wear the green shirts... the kids would wear them if they were not being harrassed for doing so...
Posted By: Stick with the real issues On: 8/15/2012
Title: REALLY PEOPLE? REALLY?
There are REAL educational issues to deal with and here we are, already, in the first week of school having to listen to whiny parents regarding their children being "allegedly" picked on for wearing a certain color shirt. REALLY?
I have three kids, two of which are grown and one remaining in high school. Each wore all the colors noted (e.g. white, blue, green, etc..) and I don't recall this ever being an issue. Perhaps it's time for the parents to stop whining about trivial matters and pay more attention to the edcuation their kids are--or are not getting in the class; as well as at home. What's more, issues such as this are becoming more of a commonality given the press time allotted by the media who entertains such bogus complaints. Furthermore, the term "bullying" has become more of a buzz word that a lot of parents are using when they have no clue as to what's going on. Besides, if this article is even partially true, when and where did the complainant in this case take the time to contact the principle regarding the matter?
And lastly; everyone wants to start a petition of some type and get signatures. I call it the "social mediaism". SO in short, please complain about a subject of real importance; not what your kids is wearing and what the other little kids may, or may not say. What's next; complaining because some kid told your kid that his sneakers are ugly?
REALLY PEOPLE? REALLY?
Posted By: Max On: 8/15/2012
Title: Aaaaaa lilly pad
When I read this article I chuckled, as its content allowed me to travel back down memory lane with my own children and this same experience. I was absolutely shocked in 2004 as my girls and I stood in the middle of the racks of uniform shirts at Academy. I selected two shirts of each color, blue, white, and yes even green, only to be informed that no one wanted to go to school looking like a lilly pad on the water, ( green shirt with blue pants). I immediately knew that it was probably impossible to convince the girls to wear green shirts with khaki pants so we selected three blue shirts and three white shirts. MOM saved the day. I don't see the incident as bullying. In my experience when we reached this point I saw it as the childrens way of crossing over from babies to young adults........green shirts are cool in elementary school, not in middle school. Later in my experience when my girls went to high school because they had matured somewhat, they were not as concerned about being a part of the social norm. The developed their own style within the uniform barriers.......including green shirts and were ultimately happy. I learned in 2004 that I had to back off so to speak and allow my girls to feel how they felt and choose what made them feel socially acceptable for that time. Since that time my son entered middle school with the same drama and has now entered high school.......his new drama is the appropriate Adidas......Perhaps its time to talk with students concerning uniforms.....getting their opinions about what they would like to see as Middle School colors. As authority figures we have to remember that this age group desires to be recognized as young adults. It may seem crazy but the green shirts to them indicate "baby". This particular incident may not necessarily be considered bullying......however this child may go down in history as being the only one in 2012 to wear a green shirt to Oak Park Middle. His parents will have to be creative to help him through that one.