In a case of the dress code versus freedom of expression, a student in Oregon was suspended for wearing a military shirt in honor of his U.S. Marine brother.
Alan Holmes is thankful for his freedom of speech, perhaps more than most, since his older brother joined the U.S. Marines when he was 19-years-old. The Dexter McCarty Middle School student was shocked when he was sent to the principal’s office because of his wish to show his support for American troops.
When school officials asked Alan — who is in eighth-grade — to change his shirt or face suspension, he didn’t hesitate to stand up for what he believes in. The t-shirt in question has the words “Standing for those who stood for us” legend, along with combat boots, rifle, and helmet.
The student suspended by Dexter McCarthy school told KATU he asked the principal if his refusal meant he was suspended from school.
“The principal, I asked him, is this considered a suspension? He said yes I’ll see you tomorrow and I left.
“I was just upset. I was heartbroken. My brother, he means everything to me. Just being able to help and give back to the people who fought and died for us it just makes me feel good.”
According to EAG News, the school’s dress code states students are not allowed to wear clothing that promotes alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or violence. Because the shirt Alan was wearing showed a rifle, it was considered to be in violation of the rules and he was told to change into a school shirt, but he refused.
After the student was suspended from the Middle School, he stated to Fox 12, school officials were trying to take away his right to support his brother and the troops who protect him. His father, Charles, said he was proud of his son and would have done exactly the same thing if put in that situation.
For the suspended student, his brother’s service has left an indelible impression and even though he was young, he still remembers when his brother came back from his tour in Iraq.
“I was proud of him. I remember the day he came home and I was just so happy. I was little but I still remember it, he made me happy,” Alan said.
Needless to say, the case of this suspended student is making waves on social media, and everyone has an opinion one way or another. However, the majority of comments seem to be in favor of Alan and his decision to defy his school.
— I love my U.S.A (@WEdwarda) October 12, 2015
Student suspended after wearing military memorial shirt honoring Marine brother… http://t.co/ZTwCo97bOp
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) October 12, 2015
This student’s suspension in Oregon comes just weeks after the deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in the same state, which shook not only that quiet community, but the entire nation. A gunman stormed an English classroom and killed the professor and eight students in cold blood, wounding nine others. Police said the shooter killed himself during a shootout with authorities.
Gun violence in school has once again put the Second Amendment front and center in the 2016 Presidential campaign, with Republicans supporting the right of citizens to carry weapons to defend themselves, while Democrats are pushing for comprehensive reform.
Dexter McCarty Middle School issued a statement about the suspended student on its Facebook page, which has received hundreds of comments.
What do you think of the student who was suspended for showing support for U.S. troops? Did the school do the right thing or did they overreact? Let us know below or on Facebook.
[Photo by John Moore / Getty Images]