Student threatened with suspension and sent home for honoring the fallen

Alan Holmes, a 13 year-old eighth-grader wearing a shirt that clearly honors fallen service members. Photo Credit: Facebook via Tim Gordon (KGW-TV)

A 13-year-old boy who wanted to honor his brother and other service members with a T-shirt he wore to school had to face disciplinary action.

The controversy started last Wednesday when the 8th grader from Gresham, Oregon was told, if he didn’t change his shirt, he would face an in-school suspension. But instead of putting on a different shirt, the Dexter McCarty Middle School student called his father to take him home.

Alan Holmes told local media that his shirt does not stand for violence at all. “It’s standing for the memorial for the soldiers, who have died for us and our freedom, and I 100 percent support them because they’re supporting us,” he told KGW.

Holmes said there was nothing in his school dress code to indicate he wasn’t allowed to wear that specific T-shirt, since the school handbook doesn’t specifically reference images of guns.

Furthermore, he argued that “the rifle is shown with boots and a helmet, in what is recognized as the battle field cross for fallen soldiers, and is meant to support the troops.” The shirt says “Standing for those who stood for us.”

However, a school district spokeswoman issued a statement saying “…we have a policy on student dress and grooming. Weapons on a shirt are not appropriate in a school setting.”

Alan says he feels very strongly about this issue since his older brother is a Marine who served in Iraq. Chuck is home now, standing up for his little brother.

“How he went about it was not like a typical 13-year old boy.  The natural man in him came out, saying ‘I’m not going to support Dexter if they’re not going to support something like this’…. I’m proud of him,” Chuck said.

But the school stands by its decision saying, it’s too powerful an image to wear to school, especially in this environment we live in now, where there’s such a growing concern over gun violence in schools.

The boys’ mother posted the story on her Facebook page and it’s since gone viral, prompting national news organizations to call the Holmes family.

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