- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2013

Two students who wore Sept. 11 tribute T-shirts to their high school in Slayden, Miss., are in trouble with administrators, who accused them of dress code violations and ordered them to change clothes.

The Blaze reported that one of the H.W. Byers High School students, Kelton Stewart, sported a T-shirt that touted the words “America — land of the free.” The other, Clay Earnest, wore one that said “U.S. pride” on the back.

They wore the shirts in honor of Sept. 11 terrorist attack victims; the school’s one-day relaxed dress code for the day’s remembrances allowed students to display “Patriotic Day” messages and flags on their shirts, The Blaze reported.

Yet both students said they were told to go the office for discipline.

“The vice principal told me that it was unsatisfactory and that the shirt was not acceptable,” Kelton told local WREG. “If you’re going to wear something to do with your country and the colors are red, white and blue, then why are you being told you can’t wear the red, white and blue when you come to school?”

Clay, meanwhile, said some students said his shirt looked like it was promoting “gang” messages — a claim he strenuously argued.

“The fonting is a little difficult to read, but it says ‘U.S. pride’ on the back,” he said in The Blaze. “They just jumped straight to the conclusion that you’re in a gang — that you’re trying to be part of gang or something like that when you know that you’re against those kinds of things.”

Principal Dante Thornton told WREG that the students weren’t suspended. They just had to call their parents to bring them different shirts to wear.

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