The University of Tennessee has offered a scholarship to the Florida student bullied for wearing a homemade Vols t-shirt during his school’s College Colors Day.
“In recognition of the fourth-grader’s Volunteer spirit, the university has extended an offer of admission for him to join the Class of 2032,” the university said Thursday. “In addition, he has been awarded a four-year scholarship covering his tuition and fees beginning fall 2028 should he decide to attend UT and meet admission requirements.”
On Saturday, Breitbart News reported that the boy’s teacher, Laura Snyder, posted a photo of his shirt that had the letters “U.T.” drawn on a piece of paper and attached to it on her Facebook page.
“I know kids can be cruel, I am aware that it’s not the fanciest sign, BUT this kid used the resources he had available to him to participate in a spirit day (one that I celebrated all week: Go Noles),” the post read.
However, Snyder said she planned to buy him a Vols t-shirt and asked anyone with connections to the university if they could help her make his day “a little extra special for him.”
The college heard about the student and designed an official t-shirt for the VolShop, one that highlighted his own artwork.
Share in a Florida elementary student's Volunteer pride by wearing his design on your shirt too! Pre-order today for a late September expected delivery. A portion of proceeds from every shirt sold will be donated to @STOMPOutBullyng .https://t.co/NdnTtYREFL pic.twitter.com/OeTZvgC09Y
— VolShop (@UTVolShop) September 6, 2019
The university said a portion of the proceeds made from the shirt will be donated to the nonprofit group STOMP Out Bullying, per his mother’s request.
Reports said that on Monday, the school sold over 16,000 of the shirts. Later reports said that the shop received 50,000 more orders, causing the site to crash temporarily.
“University officials have spoken several times with the boy’s mother, who has expressed gratitude to the university and said the family has been deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring from people around the world,” the college said in a press release.
Tyra Haag, director of media relations for the university, told reporters that the University of Tennessee believes in putting others first, adding, “We’re so glad we were able to support this student, put a smile on his face and bring more orange into his life. In the true spirit of UT, alumni, fans and honorary Volunteers around the world have stepped up.”