ELK GROVE, CA - So what is it about the Class of 2014's sweatshirt that has so many parents upset and law enforcement worried about student safety?
It turns out the senior class at Cosumnes Oaks High School may be flaunting more than their graduating year.
A sweatshirt designed by the senior class displays the Roman numeral XIV across the front. Some parents called it a harmless sweatshirt for the class of 2014, but others say XIVhas another meaning.
"It's a gang-related symbol," said parent Anna Trejo. "You wear that on the street you're going to get your (expletive) kicked!"
The number 14 is often associated with the Nortenos, a gang with strong roots in Northern California.
Some students at Cosumnes Oaks High said they won't wear the class shirt stamped with XIV.
"I feel like it's their symbol and we just kind of like copied it," said one senior who didn't want to be identified. "I feel like we all are kind of fearful."
"Every year our senior class designs a sweatshirt, and for their theme this year, the Class of 2014 this year went with a Roman theme," said Liz Graswich, spokesperson forthe Elk Grove Unified School District.
School administrators said the class innocently chose the design.
"It was vetted by a number of people, but those individuals did not know about the connection," said Graswich.
"That's baloney. I mean, really? You got the cops here. I mean they even know it," said Trejo.
"I'll be honest with you, I would not let my kid wear that outside the house," said Det. Sgt. Luis Aguilar with the Sacramento County sheriff's gang unit.
"Gangs do not own these colors, blue and red, and they don't own these numbers, 13 and 14, but they use them and they associate themselves with them, almost to a point where they worship them," said Aguilar.
Aguilar said if your child is wearing the Cosumnes Oaks 2014 sweatshirt in the wrong neighborhood, he or she could be looked at as a gang member.
"If they are going to wear a symbol that these gang members associated with, they better be aware of that, their parents better be aware of that," said Aguilar.
With those concerns in mind, the Elk Grove Unified School District is responding to parents.
"We are going to put out a letter in the next day or so and let parents know it has been brought to our attention and if they would like a refund, they are welcome to it," said Graswich.
"Keep the money. Just change the sweater," said Trejo.
The school district says it has no plans to ban the sweatshirts.
The senior class recently went on a trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo and most students wore their sweatshirts. There were no incidents reported.