No good deed goes unpunished: UT takes online heat

Monday, September 9, 2019

If you spend any time online, you probably saw the post over the weekend.

An orange T-shirt with a scrawled “U.T.” accompanied a heartwarming story of a young boy who was bullied just because he wanted to support his college football team.

Teacher Laura Snyder at Altamonte Elementary School in Florida said her unnamed student want to support his University of Tennessee Volunteers at a “College Colors Day,” but didn’t own an official T-shirt.

The resourceful child drew a “U.T.” on a sheet of paper and pinned it to an orange t-shirt.

As some mean girls are wont to do, a group at the next table made fun of his effort, which his teacher reported on social media.

One thing led to another, and by last weekend, demand for an officially sanctioned version of the student’s T-shirt had crashed UT’s merchandise server.

The school sent the boy a box of “swag” and designated a portion of the proceeds to an anti-bullying group.

Great story, but online trolls, of course, would have nothing of it.

Why did the boy only get a box of trinkets instead of a 5% cut of the profits, asked one poster.

He should get a free-ride scholarship, suggested another.

It’s enough to make a PR person pull out his hair.

Kudos to UT for a kind gesture, and just ignore the trolls, who could use some lessons about bullying themselves.

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