Teacher takes away 12 year old's pink breast cancer awareness bracelet - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Teacher takes away 12 year old's pink breast cancer awareness bracelet

One East Texas middle schooler has the blues for thinking pink.

Since his grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, 12-year-old Devon Swindell wears his pink bracelet nearly every day. That is until recently when one of his teachers at Alba-Golden ISD forced him to take it off. KLTV 7's Layron Livingston went to Alba today to speak with Devon and his family, and to see what the school had to say.

'Early detection saves lives' - it's a simple message that Devon and his family say became far too complicated.

"She should be supportive of her student if he is going through something hard," said his mother, Melissa.

Devon's grandmother, Pam Caliup is now going through chemo for the second time.

She says when she was first diagnosed, everyone in her family started wearing pink bracelets, including Devon. She says she couldn't believe it when his teacher took it from him last week.

"She had a really good opportunity to take this time and teach her class about how to cope with a family member having an illness," said Pam.  "She totally missed the boat and instead, humiliated him."

Administrators with Alba-Golden ISD didn't want to go on camera, but the principal tells KLTV 7 News that once Ms. Blackwell called, he approached the teacher and she apologized to Devon, and the bracelet was returned.

He says it was a misunderstanding of the dress code, which restricts students from wearing clothing or jewelry with certain slogans or symbols.

He says in Devon's case, he felt it was non-issue.

But Melissa says it should not have been an issue in the first place.

"He should be able to express himself. He should be able to wear a pink bracelet, or a purple bracelet...whatever color that he wants to wear if it's supporting somebody for a good cause," said Melissa.

Devon told us he won't stop wearing his bracelet.

The principal of Devon's school did tell us the dress code doesn't cover unforseeable situations, and says his staff is supposed to direct those questions to the administration.

Layron Livingston, reporting. llivingston@kltv.com

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