School officials in suburban Genoa have apologized to a teen and his family after a teacher asked the boy to remove his father's U.S. Marines T-shirt.
After learning of the incident, Genoa-Kingston Middle School administrators said the shirt, with its intersecting rifles displayed across the chest, didn't violate the school's dress code.
Michael McIntyre, 14, said he was called to the front of his reading class Wednesday when the teacher took issue with his choice of clothing.
"She said, 'Mike, can you turn your Marines shirt inside out or cover it up?'" the teen recalled Thursday.
He said the teacher told him the design was against school policy. Fearing suspension, he chose to turn the shirt inside out.
McIntyre said he wants to join the Marine Corps one day and said he wears the shirt as a symbol of respect.
"I've worn the shirt almost 100 times. I love the Marines," he said.
The shirt was made by Marengo-based "Oscar Mike." The company donates a portion of the proceeds to rehabilitation activities for veterans with disabilities. Company founder and Marine Corps. veteran Noah Currier called the teacher's action a poor decision.
"You can't skirt around the issue that Marines defend our country and they use weapons to do it, and I don't think that promotes violence in any way, shape or form," he said.
The boy's father, Daniel McIntyre, contacted FOX News after the incident. Someone there reached out to school administrators who weren't aware of the situation. School officials said had they known about the incident, the teacher's decision would have been overruled.
The school's full statement:
Genoa-Kingston School District wishes to apologize to anyone offended, specifically anyone who has served or has family that has served in the armed forces.
Had building or district administration had the opportunity to address this matter we believe this would have been effectively taken care of by administration. Since we were not given that courtesy we would now like to make a statement that relates to the United States Marines T-shirt worn to school (Genoa-Kingston Middle School) yesterday.
Genoa-Kingston Middle School is well known in the community for their support of our military. The students and staff regularly write letters of support to the troops, and hold patriotic ceremonies for Veteran’s Day and Patriot’s Day. 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.