UT community reaches out to boy in viral Facebook post

A Florida student experienced bullying after wearing a homemade University of Tennessee, Knoxville shirt to school. The UT community offered to help after seeing a viral Facebook post from the student’s teacher, Laura Snyder.

For Volunteer fans, it’s a small world. Unfortunately, one young fan in Florida found himself the target of bullying for his Volunteer spirit.

On Sept. 4, Laura Snyder, the student’s teacher, shared a post on her personal Facebook page about a young man in her class being bullied during the school’s “college colors day.” The student approached Snyder before the big day came wanting to represent the University of Tennessee. However, he did not have a shirt bearing the university’s name.

“We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit,” Snyder said in the post. “He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear. So when the day finally arrived, he was SO EXCITED to show me his shirt.”

The student went above and beyond expectations, even creating his own UT logo to wear on the front of his shirt.

“After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on his desk and was crying,” Snyder said. “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.”

Snyder goes on to mention she planned to purchase him a UT shirt out of her own pocket and wondered if anyone from the UT community could connect with them as well.

In a later edit to the post, Snyder said, “I’m so amazed, humbled and a little bit overwhelmed at the response to this post! So many people have reached out, and I’m really looking forward to sharing this with him!!!”

Big names at UT have reached out after hearing about this story.

The VolShop (@UTVolShop) on Twitter posted about a UT care package that was being sent his way. The account shouted out Tennessee alumnus Dale Brill for paying for overnight shipping so the students could be decked out for Big Orange Friday.

Soon after, Twitter user @VolMama85 asked the VolShop if they will be creating shirts with the student’s design.

The VolShop account later responded to a tweet asking when the shirts would be available to purchase. They responded that they are working on them and hope to have them ready soon.

UT Interim President Randy Boyd also responded on Twitter.

The young man should be receiving his Volunteer package tomorrow, just in time for Saturday’s football game against Brigham Young University.

Edited by Ciera Noe and Grace Goodacre

Featured photo courtesy of Laura Snyder’s Facebook