GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — A local principal sent an 8th grade student home this week for wearing a shirt supporting U.S. troops.
The problem, according to Gresham-Barlow School District officials, was that it had a gun on it.
Now, many are speaking out against the principal’s decision to reprimand the student for something they consider a display of patriotism.
“It means a lot to me because our family, we have a lot of people who were in the military,” middle schooler Alan Holmes said. “I didn’t see anything wrong with that shirt… It’s sad to see because it’s a fallen soldiers’ memorial.”
But administrators at Dexter McCarthy Middle School didn’t see it that way.
After getting sent to the principal’s office at recess, Holmes was scolded for failing to meet the school’s dress code. The principal then told him to change his clothes or leave.
“He chose to come home and I’m proud of that,” Alan’s mother Connie said.
The school district provided the following statement in response to the incident:
I cannot comment on a specific situation due to student confidentiality requirements. We have a policy on student dress and grooming. Weapons on a shirt are not appropriate in a school setting.
However, in a school handbook given to the Holmes family there was no mention of restrictions on images of guns on clothing.
“It’s not promoting violence, it’s showing patriotism toward the guys we all care about,” Alan’s father Charles said.
Now the family is waging their own t-shirt protest off school grounds. Connie recently picked up more shirts for the whole family.
“I just think it’s wrong for him to be stifled in that way, or for any kid to be stifled for being proud to be an American,” she said.
The Holmes family says they’ve received an outpouring of support from veterans groups online.