Unfortunately, the students at St. Peter's School in the city's Mission District couldn't enjoy their new class sweatshirts for long. The blue hoodies had the number "13" printed on the back, representing the Class of 2013.
But the color blue and the number 13 also represent another less ambitious group of youngsters: Sureños.
Sgt. Kevin Healy spotted the students wearing the new sweatshirts and immediately spoke with school officials, warning them that the kids might be mistaken for rival gang members, particularly since the school -- located at 24th and Alabama streets -- is located in the heart of gang territory.
Sgt. Healy recommended the Catholic students put away the blue-hooded class shirts, for safety reasons, of course.
While school officials understood the problem, they informed the cops that these students would not be able to afford new sweatshirts, which are given to eighth graders during their class retreat.
"We thought they could wear them in school as part of their uniform, just not outside" said Sister Marian Rose Power. "But then the cops said not to wear them at all."
School officials collected the sweatshirts, which are being stripped of the numbers, washed, and recycled for homeless folks to use this winter. Meanwhile, police worked to raise $1,600 from anonymous private donors to pay for 60 new charcoal gray sweaters with a less alarming white-colored design.
"They love them," Sister Power told SF Weekly. "Because they are warmer."