What happens when mindless zero-tolerance policies are pitted against support-the-troops patriotism? At Dexter McCarty Middle School in Gresham, Oregon, zero tolerance wins. The Washington Post reports that the school recently suspended eighth-grader Alan Holmes, whose brother served with the Marines in Iraq, for wearing a T-shirt that says “Standing for Those Who Stood for Us” against the backdrop of an American flag. The problem: Fallen soldiers are represented by an empty pair of boots, one of them with a rifle capped by a helmet protruding from it. The shirt, part of the Jeff Foxworthy line of “Vintage Redneck Wear,” violated a school ban on clothing promoting alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or violence.
Or so the school’s assistant principal, Amy Nimz, thought, and the principal, John George, agreed. When Alan refused to take off the shirt, the school called his father to take him home. “They won’t let me wear a shirt that supports the people that keep us free,” Alan told KPTV, the Fox station in Portland. “I was nervous and kind of heartbroken, because I feel like I should be able to support the troops who have died for us.” His father, Charles Holmes, agreed, saying, “I would have done the same thing.” School officials would not comment on the case, KPTV says, but they did say “they believe that weapons on a shirt are inappropriate for a school setting.”