A fourth-grade Florida student who was bullied for his homemade orange University of Tennessee shirt is inspiring others to stand up to bullying. On Thursday, a school in Pennsylvania saw a "sea of orange" as nearly 900 students wore brightly-hued shirts to protest bullying.
Last week, Laura Snyder, an elementary school teacher, shared on Facebook that one of her students wore a homemade Tennessee Volunteers shirt (representing the football team at the University of Tennessee) for his school's “college colors day.” The boy had pinned a hand-drawn "U of T" logo on the front. According to Snyder, the student was excited to represent the team, but some of his peers mocked the homemade creation. The incident left him in tears.
The story made national news and resulted in the University of Tennessee using the student's design on an official t-shirt and donating proceeds to STOMP Out Bullying. And, should the boy eventually meet admission requirements, they have offered him a four-year scholarship covering tuition and fees starting in 2028.
The university's response is what touched Principal Chad Runkle and Assistant Principal Mike Azzalina of Winding Creek Elementary School in Mechanicsburg, Penn., according to Knoxville News.
"What a gracious, awesome stance," Runkle reportedly said. "A big, giant university that didn't have to do anything about it other than maybe they could have sent him a T-shirt or something — they went above and beyond."
On Tuesday, after Runkle shared the young boy's story with the school, Azzalina asked the student body to wear orange on Thursday's spirit day, even if that meant a homemade shirt.
According to Runkle, watching 900 students exit the school buses that morning was like seeing a "sea of orange."
Winding Creek stands with The University of Tennessee @UTKnoxville today as we proudly wore orange in support of the anti-bullying story they championed. Hundreds of our kids came in a wave of orange as we spread the hope for school environments built on kindness. @CVSDnews pic.twitter.com/pXTkjL0k8x— Winding Creek Elementary School (@WC_WolfPack) September 12, 2019
"I have never seen a spirit day (like this). I bet 95% of our kids were in orange in some way, shape or form," he said, according to Knoxville News.
"I got teary-eyed, to be honest with you," Runkle reportedly said. "This really resonated with our kids."
Representatives for Winding Creek Elementary School did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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