Ryan Seacrest Helps Teens 'Think Pink'

03/24/2004 AT 04:55 PM EST

In what sounds likes an update to the movie "Footloose," "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest has come out in support of six Newport Beach, Calif., eighth graders who were booted from a class portrait for refusing to cover up their pink T-shirts.

Ensign Middle School principal Edward Wong barred the boys from the yearbook shoot last Thursday because he feared that pink was associated with "dance crews," which hold all-night dance contests and raves and can develop into gangs, reports the Associated Press.

The kids denied being crew members, however, and said that their shirts (described as "Easter pink") would help them to stand out in the photo. "It's dumb," said Luis Solis, 13, one of the boys who was barred from the photo. "How come we can't wear pink? We didn't do nothing."

On Friday, the day after Principal Wong's action, nearly half the 1,000 students at the junior high sported pink to classes in support of their booted brethren.

Seacrest, described by AP as a metrosexual fashion plate, has now jumped into the controversy, saying he got involved because a student was quoted in a local newspaper saying pink was popular among teens because Seacrest often wore it.

On his Los Angeles-based radio show Tuesday, Seacrest, 29, declared this week "Think Pink Week" and asked his listeners to wear pink on Friday.

"I'm standing up and saying it's okay to stand out because I am the 'Pink Piper,'" Seacrest told one caller.

Wong has declined comment.

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