Want to Buy A Banned T-Shirt?

August 31st, 2009

After reading this article about the Sedalia County (thank you Brandon for the correction!) school district’s treatment of the Smith-Cotton High School Marching Band’s new t-shirt, of course I tweeted the article. One comment came back from Tim Beauchamp (@tbeauchamp for those interested) wondering if there was a way to get one of the tees for himself.

This got me thinking… the Sedalia district’s Assistant Superintendent, Brad Pollitt, said himself that the district would have to cover the cost of the revoked shirts (some $700). So, why not try to get the school district to put the shirts up for sale as a fundraiser for the band and school district?

Here’s a letter that I wrote to Mr. Pollitt along those lines:

Dear Mr. Pollitt,

I’m writing you after reading a recent news article about the trouble that you and the Smith-Cotton High School marching band had with the “Brass Evolutions 2009” t-shirt design.

You are quoted as saying that the district will have to absorb the cost of the troublesome tees. I know several people who would be interested in purchasing the t-shirts. Perhaps there is an opportunity for the district to make the cost of the shirts back by selling them to individuals who are not upset by the creative design, and in fact who would wear the shirts proudly.

I am sorry to hear that the design was so distasteful to so many, and that you felt it necessary to respond by revoking the shirts at a cost to the district. Our nation’s schools never have it financially easy, especially so in this time of economic recession. This could be an economic win if approached in the spirit of fundraising.

All the best,

Kirsten H. Sanford, Ph.D

I think this could be an interesting way to approach the problem. Rather than bash anyone, or call anyone names, let’s try to publicize the evolution banning event by purchasing the t-shirts. It might actually help the school out, which is something very needed these days. We’ll see if and how Mr. Pollitt responds.

If you are interested in writing a similar letter to see if we can get these shirts back into the population, you can find the contact information of the Sedalia School District administrators here, and this is Mr. Brad Pollitt’s work email.

If you do write, please, keep in mind that this is a teachable moment, and civility and compassion will do more good than temper and bile.

14 Responses to “Want to Buy A Banned T-Shirt?”

  1. Matthew on August 31, 2009 4:52 pm

    Heck yeah! I’d love to buy one of these tshirts!

  2. Brandon Snell on August 31, 2009 5:08 pm

    Dr. Kiki,

    Thank you for posting this information. As a former member of this band the issues faced hit very close to home. I still know many members of the band including the current head drum major and it is pretty universal that we are disappointed in the decision to pull the shirts without any choice in the matter.

    I really do like your idea and I hope Mr. Pollitt seriously considers this recommendation. I and many others would be very interested in having one of these shirts if only to support our local schools. Thank you for your comments and insight on this matter.

    FYI: The first sentence refers to the “Sedalia County school district’s”. It is actually just the Sedalia school district as it is the city of Sedalia in Pettis County.

  3. Frank on August 31, 2009 8:28 pm


    Loved your podcast science and am now also subscribed you your website’s rss feed 😉

    If you get them to sell the lot, I’ll be interested to get one too.

    Greetings from the netherlands,

  4. Podblack on August 31, 2009 8:48 pm

    WANT want want!! Really! I think this would be a great thing to have! 🙂 It was my first thought upon hearing the story.

  5. Mitch P. on August 31, 2009 11:56 pm

    While I appreciate the attempt to find a non-confrontational solution to this problem, I am more disturbed by the passive acquiescence to knee-jerk reactions by a small number of parents from a (very vocal) fringe of society. It’s emblematic of the slow dumbing down of our society by reactionary religious zealots. The loss is not the few hundred dollars, it’s the ability to openly discuss one of the cornerstones of modern biology.

    – Mitch

  6. alloycowboy on September 1, 2009 1:54 am

    You know this is just getting nuts. It’s getting to the point where you can’t even have a decent conversation about evolution or religion because they are contrevsial topics. Never mind the fact that Evolution being a science topic has as much to do with relgion as De-Evolution. That is man turning back into an ape, which is entirely more plausiable as it doesn’t violate the law of causality.

  7. George B on September 1, 2009 7:38 am

    Dr. Kiki,

    As a former “band geek” I thought the concept of the shirt was brilliant. I would buy the shirt just for the humor factor; who knew Humor was to be taken so seriously. I hope your reply is received with the same fair-minded thought you put into it.

  8. Ryan on September 1, 2009 7:55 am

    Emails to the entire School AND the Superintendents:


    Please email!!, and be civil of course

  9. Jordan on September 1, 2009 8:59 am

    University of Pennsylvania ran a 3-month program on evolution for Darwin’s big year. We’ll take 3, one for each curator of the exhibit!

  10. Kevin Bales on September 1, 2009 5:13 pm

    “Pollitt said the district was required by law to remain neutral on religion.”

    OK if they have to pull t-shirts because one religion objects to the picture, then they better ban meat from the cafeteria since it offends Hinduism. I bet we could come up with a lot more examples of things needing banning from the school because it bothers some faith community somewhere.

    Or does he think that evolution is a religion?

  11. Darryl Rabon on September 3, 2009 2:44 am

    I’m thinking they might be stupendous collector’s items if nothing else.

  12. Mike on September 6, 2009 2:12 pm

    I too would purchase one of these Ts in support of the band. My guess is that the existing Ts would sell out quick and they could print even more as a fund raising, thereby as well, giving the religious conservitives something more to think about.
    Count me in.

  13. Cormac on October 3, 2009 12:18 pm

    I’d love one. Happy to pay postage to Australia!

  14. Funny t-shirt on November 2, 2009 12:34 am

    Just another example of over-sensitization taking hold over common sense.

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