On Monday, an Illinois middle school student was told that his U.S. Marines shirt was “inappropriate” to wear in school and that if he didn’t take the shirt off, cover it up, or turn it inside out, he’d be suspended.
The shirt middle schooler Michael McIntyre, 13, wore to school featured a pair of crossed M16 rifles beneath the word “Marines.” The boy’s father, Dan McIntyre, believes the teacher’s objection to the depiction of the rifles is what sparked her demand that the boy take off the shirt.
The demand was made by Karen Deverell, a reading and language arts teacher at Genoa-Kingston Middle School, on Monday, February 13. The boy’s father reports that his son followed her instructions.
In an exclusive interview, Michael’s father, Dan McIntyre, said, “He’s worn the shirt before, so I don’t know why they said anything this time.”
McIntyre also said his son “immediately complied with the teacher’s demand and told me about it when he came home from school.” He also said that the teacher said that if he didn’t cover the shirt, “he’d be suspended.”
When asked if the school administration said anything to his son, McIntyre said the teacher also went to the principal, but the principal didn’t say anything to his son.
“All I can say is that in this family, we support the Marines,” Mr. McIntyre said.
McIntyre is involved with the Dekalb County Marines organization and the Dekalb County Tea Party group.
Mr. McIntyre supplied a copy of the school dress code that informs students that children may not wear clothing that depicts “violent behavior.” This, McIntyre feels, is what likely served as the teacher’s vague rationale to demand that the Marines T-Shirt be removed.
The school has decided not to speak to reporters directly, offering a statement on the school Facebook page instead.
The school administration claims they have not been given the chance to weigh in on the incident as it happened, insisting that they “support of our military” and regularly encourage students and staff to write letters to the troops and attend patriotic ceremonies for veterans.
We very much support the armed forces and were disheartened to learn of this matter through the media. The administration and school handbook agree that this shirt is not a violation of the dress code. We also take school safety very earnestly and it needs to be recognized that is a topic that we also take very seriously and support our students and staff in providing a safe environment to learn, teach and work in on a daily basis. We thank everyone for their continued support of our school and our school district.
Image credit: Dan McIntyre/Fox News