A Florida fourth-grader was bullied for his homemade University of Tennessee T-shirt on his school’s college colors day ― so the university made it into an official design.
It all began when the unnamed boy’s teacher, Laura Snyder, shared the heart-wrenching story to Facebook last week.
She explained that the student approached her ahead of college colors day to say he wanted to represent the University of Tennessee, but didn’t have a shirt. She told him he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit.
“So when the day finally arrived, he was SO EXCITED to show me his shirt. I was impressed that he took it one step further to make his own label,” Snyder wrote in the post.
Snyder said that after lunch, the boy returned to class, put his head on his desk and cried.
“Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED,” she wrote.
Snyder’s touching post was shared thousands of times, and caught the attention of the university.
On Friday, UT’s campus store released a custom-made version of the boy’s shirt on their online store:
The shirt was sold so many times that the website crashed. The campus store said in a tweet on Sunday that their servers were still down.
The teacher said that the college also sent a care package to her student, which she gave to him on Friday.
“I’m not even sure I can put into words his reaction. It was so heartwarming,” she said in an update on her post.
“When I told him that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped. He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today!”
The boy’s mother said in a letter to Snyder that she was blown away by the love and support for her son and hoped the entire incident would serve as “inspiration for him throughout his life.”
UT says a portion of proceeds from the shirt will be donated to STOMP Out Bullying, a national nonprofit working to prevent and reduce bullying.