Another student has been told by school officials to take off his Marine Corps T-shirt or face suspension after a teacher found the crossed rifles shown on the front to be inappropriate.
Daniel McIntyre of Genoa, Ill., said he could tell something was bothering his 14-year-old son, Michael, when he got off the school bus on Monday.
“He said, ‘Dad, I’m really upset about what happened at school today,’ ” McIntyre said. ” ‘My teacher threatened to suspend me because she thought my T-shirt was inappropriate and I needed to cover it up or turn it inside-out.’ ”
That shocked his dad because the T-shirt that had his teacher upset was green with a pair of crossed rifles below the word, “Marine.”
“I just couldn’t believe it,” McIntyre said. “I was shocked. I thought, ‘What about that shirt would make her suggest that it was inappropriate?’ ”
Michael, an eighth-grader at Genoa-Kingston Middle School, complied and wore a jacket over the crossed rifles T-shirt for the rest of the day. McIntyre bought the shirt for Michael at the county fair because they have family friends who are Marines.
“I am very close with Marines,” McIntyre said. “Michael and I have gone with Marines when they’ve done some motorcycle toy runs. These guys are like heroes to me.”
To know that his son was asked to cover a shirt that, to him, represents selflessness is not something McIntyre can accept.
“We support all the branches of the military, but the Marines are kind of special,” McIntyre said. “They never stop giving to the country. They’re always looking for ways to do more for everyone else.”
Crossed rifles are found on Marines’ chevrons in the rank insignia worn by lance corporals through master sergeants. As worn today, crossed rifles date back to 1958 when the Corps created a new enlisted rank structure to include the introduction of lance corporal in the E-3 paygrade, according to the Marine Corps History Division.
Marine Corps Times reported in May that a Mississippi sixth-grader was told to remove his USMC shirt because administrators found the picture of the anatomically correct bulldog to be offensive. The front of that shirt showed the dog’s head and body with the words “If you are not the lead dog.” The back showed the dog’s rear with the words “The view never changes.”
Jordan Griffith, 13, of Ellisville, Miss., received the shirt from his older brother, Lance Cpl. Timothy Swann Jr., a member of 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. Swann gave it to his little brother while on his pre-deployment leave.
On the crossed rifles issue, McIntyre said the school should change the dress code because he has heard that other students have run into similar problems when wearing military-related gear to school. He said he sees nothing in the school dress code that would prohibit his son from wearing the crossed rifles Marine Corps shirt.
What do you think?
Are school administrators out of touch with military culture? Or does a symbol such as the Corps’ iconic crossed rifles risk perpetuating gun violence?