Boy Was Bullied for Homemade UT Shirt, School Rallied

After the story went viral, Vol Nation took action

A fourth grader obsessed with the University of Tennessee couldn’t wait to show off his homemade UT shirt on College Colors Day.

“He was SO EXCITED,” Laura Snyder, a teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida, wrote on Facebook.

A week earlier, the boy had approached Snyder and explained that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but didn't own one.

Snyder suggested the student wear an orange top that he already owned. He liked that idea and took it a step further, by crafting his own paper UT Vols label.

Sadly, a group of bullies tried to crush his spirit.

“He came back to my room, put his head on his desk and was crying,” Snyder revealed. “Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt.”

But the story has a happy ending. Snyder’s post went viral and the boy was inundated with support from Vol Nation. He also received enough loot from the University of Tennessee to open his own campus gift shop.

“I’m not even sure I can put into words his reaction. It was so heartwarming. My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box,” Snyder shared on Facebook. “He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps or tears while we explained that he had inspired and touched the lives of so many people.”

It gets even better. The University announced Friday that they would be printing the hand-drawn onto official T-shirts and donating a portion of the proceeds to STOMP Out Bullying. It was so popular that it crashed the Vol shop's server.

In an open letter, the boy's mom praised Snyder and Vol Nation for "seeing in my son what we see in him every day."

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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