University of Tenn. marching band wears T-shirts designed by bullied fan

Members of the University of Tennessee marching band got to be some of the first people to wear the wildly popular anti-bullying T-shirt inspired by a 4th-grade fan, who was teased for his homemade shirt.

The band, known as The Pride of the Southland, wore the shirts under their traditional uniforms on Saturday at the Volunteers’ 45-0 win over The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

A fan in Florida drew worldwide attention earlier this month after he was teased for pinning a hand-drawn U.T. logo on an orange shirt for his elementary school’s college colors day. In a Facebook post that went viral, his teacher wrote that the boy was devastated.

She thanked the Volunteers on Friday and said the experience has been a great lesson for her students.

“We’ve had lots of discussions about being kind, and I’m really excited to see my students step up their acts of kindness,” she wrote.

The university adopted the boy’s shirt as an official school design and says it has taken more than 50,000 pre-orders. All of the profits from the sale will go to the charity Stomp Out Bullying.

Tennessee also awarded the boy a 4-year scholarship last week and offered him honorary admission into the Class of 2032.