Marines T-shirt ban: Superintendent on student's side, not teacher's

A de facto Marines T-shirt ban by one Illinois teacher came under fire by school district administrators who say the shirt worn by a 14-year-old student is within the limits set by the dress code. Now the boy's father wants the dress code to be explicit so Marines T-shirts are not banned again. 

Associated Press
Marine T-shirt ban: After a student wore a US Marines T-shirt with two M16s on it to school, a teacher found it inappropriate and threatened suspension unless he turn the shirt inside out. The superintendent supported the boy. Now his father wants the dress code to be flushed out. Here, a 6-year-old takes part in Marine Week in Cleveland in June.

Semper forget about it. 

A 14-year-old student in Illinois donning a US Marines T-shirt with two M16 rifles layered on top the word Marines was asked by his eighth grade reading teacher to remove the shirt, citing the school's dress code. 

The teacher, Karen Deverell, said the weapon graphics made the shirt problematic, according to School district administrators have come out in support of the teenager, and now the boy's father wants the dress code policy to undergo some fine-tuning to do away with any ambiguity. 

"My son is very proud of the Marines, in fact, of all the services," Daniel McIntyre of Genoa, Ill., told "So he wears it with pride. There are two rifles crossed underneath the word 'Marines' on the shirt, but to me that should be overlooked. It's more about the marines instead of the rifles." 

Ms. Deverell told the teenager to wear his shirt inside out or be suspended. Previous school days where he wore the shirt ended without incident, Mr. McIntyre said.

Genoa-Kingston Superintendent Joe Burgess said the shirt did not violate the district's dress code. He wished the teacher would have notified school administrators, since he said they would have allowed the boy to keep wearing the shirt.

"We've been accused of a lot of things, but our middle school is well-known for its support of the armed forces," Burgess told, adding later that the " ... teacher is obviously allowed to question anything they feel might be a violation of dress code, but again, had an administrator been allowed to respond, this could have been taken care of yesterday."

The Genoa-Kingston school district does take issue with clothing displaying violent behavior and gang symbols, but does not "explicitly ban images of guns and other weapons," according to, which obtained a copy of the policy. 

McIntyre told he believes the teacher's decision to have his son turn his shirt inside out was an overreaction to recent mass shootings, specifically the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in which 20 students were killed.

"I backed him up and he knows that," McIntyre told of his son. "This is not right. This policy that they have in place can obviously be loosely interpreted, so they need to change it." 

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