Teens barred from wearing ‘Brothers in Arms’ shirts with rifle design at Tooele High School

Posted at 10:00 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 00:00:31-05

TOOELE - Two Tooele High School seniors thought the shirt they wore to class Tuesday showed support for the military and each other's decision to join the Army. However, the school's principal didn't share the same beliefs.

"I love [the] Principal," said Jaden Brown, one of the two students. "I have respect for him, and I see why [he made the decision], but I was just a little let down that I couldn't wear the shirt."

It all started after the boys received a Christmas present. The gift was two shirts with the phrase "Brothers in Arms" on the back, along with a picture of an M-4.

The gift came from one of the boy's parents. Brown plans to graduate a semester early so he can report to Basic Training in Georgia by March. His best friend, Seth Nelson, plans to sign up for the Army next week when he turns 18. So, this Christmas might have been their last together for a while.

"We were just like, 'We are going to wear these on the first day of school coming back," Nelson said.

The pair said they made it through the entire day at school without drawing a comment or the eye of any of the teachers.

"I was in the parking lot in my car when the Principal came up to me," Brown said.

He said the principal told him he couldn't wear the shirt.

Tooele School District's Student Handbook reads in part:

"Clothing, paraphernalia, jewelry..shall be free of writing, pictures, or any other insignias which are crude, vulgar, profane, violent or sexually suggestive."

A spokesperson from the District also confirmed the principal asked the boys to turn their shirts inside out.

"I can see why the school district doesn't allow that," Brown said. "At the same time, I have no issues with complying with it, but if you go through the school halls, you'll see other stuff that's worse."