Swim Team Shirts All Wet

Students suspended over what school officials see as bullying

What's in a T-shirt? That's what the Seymour High School boys swimming and diving team is figuring out the hard way.

Nine members of the team received a one-day suspension from school on Friday after wearing shirts that school officials argue is a form of bullying. The boys' swimming coach has been suspended without pay.

On the back of the shirts was the phrase "The Mascot is a Quitter."  Team members say it's a reference to a former team mate who quit after not being selected as team captain. 

District officials said the shirt singles out a student and makes him a target for harassment, and that makes it a clear violation of the district's anti-bullying policy. 

"There's ways to make a statement. Making a student to ridicule or harass another student is not making a statement," said Rick Kearns, Security Director for Seymour Public Schools.  "It's making someone feel uncomfortable, and it's just not right. "

According to team members, the idea came from their coach.  District officials say the coach has been suspended with pay.  They are investigating to see if any further action will be taken.

Those who know the coach think it was all a misunderstanding.  They hope the school district won't take his job away.

"I think it would be outrageous, it would be a really bad move, a terrible move on their part because he's a great guy, a great coach," said Brianna Girard, a former swim team member.

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