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This Hat From Urban Planet Is Considered "Gang Clothing" By The Winnipeg School Division

The store sells hats, shirts, and pants with the same print.

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A Winnipeg high school freaked out after a Grade 12 student wore this hat to school. Administrators said the bandana pattern made it gang paraphernalia.

Urban Planet / Via urban-planet.com

Victoria Walterson says her 17-year-old son Cadan was pulled into the office and told his hat violated the school board policy against gang activity, which includes a ban on "gang insignia."

"I was flabbergasted … that's not our thing. I'm not a gang member, I don't have family that are gang members, my kid is not a gang member," she told CBC's Go Public.

She bought Cadan's hat from his favourite store, Urban Planet, which has dozens of locations across Canada. Urban Planet has a whole line of clothing with the bandana print, and the company told the CBC it sells "mainstream fashion, not gang clothing."

But then things got even weirder. After CBC's report aired, the school arranged for Cadan to speak to someone trained in helping young people get out of gangs.

CBC News / Via cbc.ca

Walterson told BuzzFeed Canada the conversation was about "the dangers of wearing these clothes and being mistaken for a gang member."

Walterson said that Cadan, who has an intellectual disability, simply wanted to get out of the meeting and started agreeing with everything he was told. She said he even admitted to owning large gang flags, which is not true. That led to a follow-up email from school administrators about having yet more meetings about the gang issue.

"My son thinks all of this is absolutely ridiculous because he should be allowed to wear what he wants," Walterson said.

Victoria Walterson

BuzzFeed Canada reached out to the Winnipeg School Division for comment about the clothing policy, and why staff at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate called in an anti-gang counsellor.

Radean Carter, a spokesperson for the school board, said in an email that the policy is meant to "protect students from inadvertently putting themselves or other students at risk."

"For more information on how gangs operate, recruit and target teenagers you should speak to police," the email said.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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