After hearing the story of a boy being bullied on the radio, ESL teacher Mark Poulterer was inspired to share an anti-bullying message.
After the Florida boy’s school had a college wear day and he didn’t have a University of Tennessee shirt, he decided to create his own and the day he wore it, got bullied for it.
The university heard about the story and decided to make shirts based on the boy’s design, but also offer him a full ride to the university when he grows up.
Money from the shirts will go directly to various anti-bullying campaigns.
“I was gonna buy one for myself and saw that it was $5 for shipping. Every Wednesday is our college and career day where all the teachers wear shirts so I (thought) maybe other teachers would want a shirt so I sent out an email and had 30 responses,” Poulterer said.
One of the teachers supporting the boy is humanities teacher Maggie Haas.
“I think that it’s a positive message to send out to the students at the school that bullying isn’t an acceptable activity for students to take part in,” Haas said. “Someone may feel that they’re making an important point when they bully someone, but in reality, they’re just harming themselves.”
Various teachers around the school wore the shirt on Wednesday.
“It’s my hope that while I’m wearing this shirt, someone sees it and starts a dialogue, or takes it as a sign they’re not going through something alone,” physics teacher Christopher Camerano said.
Although Poulterer has done fundraisers and events in the past such as Feed My Starving Children, it wasn’t his intention to start a fundraiser.
“I liked the idea of the shirt, (and) I would love to continue to give students and teachers opportunities to just serve and love the world around them,” Poulterer said.