Cancer survivor violates new dress code with Relay for Life t-shirt

Posted at 11:45 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 23:45:36-04

"Tyler is a two time cancer survivor, he was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia," said Tim Powers.

Powers couldn't be more proud of his son. While other kids were riding bikes and fighting for a starting position on the basketball team, Tyler was fighting for his life.

"He spent a good part of his beginning school years in the hospital, some of his best friends were some of the children he met while in the hospital," said Powers.

Now in remission, it's those friends, the ones who didn't make, that now guide his his life. He's a class president, national honor roll student and now a dress code violator.

"Tyler wore his relay for life survivor shirt to school and was told that he had to take it off, he couldn't stay in school with that shirt on," said Powers.

Threatened with in school suspension, Tyler changed the shirt and returned to class.

It's just the latest run in between students and administrators over a new dress code policy at Ridgewood High School.

Protests by students erupted earlier in the week with more than 60 voluntarily violating the policy Tuesday.

But his father says, this time, the school went overboard.

"It's about saving lives and when you have a message this positive who wants to stifle that," said Powers.

"Certainly if he is a cancer survivor and even when I talk to the teacher she said if he had said anything, she would have listened and empathized and discussed the reason why she has to treat him the way she treats everyone else," said Linda Cobbe with Pasco County Schools.

School officials say the dress code is still being modified but under its current policy, they had no choice but to force Tyler to change. But they also made it clear, the dress code is here to stay and hope students and parents eventually see the benefits.