MilKid in Patriotic Shirt at Post School Asked to Change


School officials on Fort Campbell have done an about-face on a ban against allowing students to wear patriotic shirts on casual day after one student’s stand against the policy gained national media attention.

CeJai Taylor, a 12-year-old student at Fort Campbell’s Mahaffey Middle School, asked school administrators if they would be willing to change their once-a-month casual day policy to allow students to wear patriotic T-shirts. She handed out flyers to help  the staff learn about “Red Fridays,” a nationwide movement that encourages civilians to wear red as a sign of troop support.

The rules at Campbell’s middle schools allowed students to only wear jeans monthly paired with a T-shirt purchased from the school, or dress-code collared shirts. The High School on Fort Campbell has long permitted patriotic shirts to be worn on the casual days.

But officials refused to change the rule to allow CeJai and others — all military kids — to visibly support their deployed parents and friends by wearing a “Red Friday” or other patriotic shirt once a month. Instead, they told CeJai’s mom, Cassandra Taylor, they have “designated days” to support the military.

“I said ‘Are you kidding me? All she wants to do is support her dad and wear the shirt that support the troops,'” Taylor said.

So they decided to take a stand.

“That’s ridiculous that I couldn’t wear a red shirt to support the troops at a military school,” CeJai said. “I was sick and tired and I finally stood-up for what I believed in.”

With the support of her mom CeJai decided to wear the shirt on the most recent casual day, April 19,  anyway. And when school officials ordered her to change her shirt, her mom picked her up and brought her home instead. Later that day CeJai called Fox News and told them her story.

That interview aired April 23. The story has since gone viral.

“I had people emailing me from different organizations saying that they have mass overloaded emails to the school to the point where the school emails are no longer working, calling the school, faxing the school — it’s been crazy,” Taylor said.

As a result school officials made an abrupt change to their policy and plan to send a letter home with students April 25 explaining the change.

“They relooked at the school dress code and students will be allowed to wear patriotic T-shirts on dress down days,” Cindy Gibson, a DoDEA spokeswoman said April 24.

The school is also increasing casual day from once a month to every Friday.

Taylor said Gary Gerstner, assistant superintendent for DoDEA’s Kentucky District, called her April 24 and apologized.

“It was a tough conversation,” Taylor said. “I know that they had to eat crow because I know that it does not make them look good.”

Taylor said they knew they would receive flack over the shirt and that CeJai would be ordered to change. But instead of directing CeJai to follow the rules, Taylor wanted her to stand behind the things that are most important to her.

“She loves her daddy — there’s nothing more beautiful than a child that loves God, loves her country and her daddy. And I stand by that — if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have pushed it,” Taylor said.

CeJai said her father, who deployed early this Spring, is very proud of her.

“(My dad) is going to say that he’s very proud of me and can’t wait to see me,” CeJai said.

Taylor said she hopes the incident has taught CeJai to take a stand even in the face of opposition.

“I want her to know that sometimes these things are worth fighting for,” Taylor said. “Isn’t that what being a parent is all about? You teach her to stand her ground and that sometimes it’s OK to be by herself.”

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

59 Comments on "MilKid in Patriotic Shirt at Post School Asked to Change"

  1. Kevin chambers | April 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  2. Wow…a DOD school not allowing students to show support for their military parents. Obviously none of the school administrators ever wore a uniform. Bravo Zulu to CeJai for standing her ground against those idiots.

  3. Randy Lowe-36 yrs | April 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm |

    Bravo to CeJai and thanks be to Mom for supporting her courageous daughter. We need more examples like you. Thanks to Dad for being willing to wear the uniform with honor. It is a valuable lesson for all of us to stand our ground when the cause is just.

  4. Good for CeJai and way to go Mom for standing firm on this!

  5. This story still makes me proud of CeJai for standing up to those knuckle heads at the school.
    Just about every civilian at the base I am assigned to wear red t-shirts for "Red Shirt Fridays" to support everyone downrange.
    Way to go!!

  6. toopoorformensa | April 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm |

    I hate to say this and look like the "bad guy", but schools have dress code policies for a reason. If you have an issue with the dress code policy TALK TO THE ADMINISTRATION!!! The fact that you tell your daughter it's ok to break the rule that you think is unfair, then go straight to the media when you ALREADY KNOW she's going to get sent home from school for breaking the rule is unfair to the school. It's called a setup. Basically you just taught your daughter that it's ok to blackmail people into doing things that you want. I'm all for supporting the troops (currently AD Marine 12 years strong!), my brothers, sisters and I always appreciate the support. I'm not ok with this article lauding the efforts to force a schools hand in changing THEIR policies by putting an unfair bias of their dress code in the media.

  7. Wouldn't it make more sense to spread awareness off base? Everyone who is military or directly affiliated with a servicemember is very aware of what our military is doing and has been doing since 9/11. It seems redundant to promote awareness, in a school that educates only military kids, when every military kid is very aware because of an absent parent at some time during this war. I also would like to point out that she could have went above the administration to plead her case. This would have been a more mature way to handle this issue instead of making it into a media circus that did in fact bully the school into changing it's policy. Sometimes in life we have to follow rules we do not like or agree with and not everyone is going to get their way. To encourage defiance when not getting your way is not teaching your child how to interact in society in a mature and respectful manner.

  8. proudmarinesister | April 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm |

    i work in a school district the one and only reason public schools started the uniform thing was bc they though it would be cheaper for the parents and would stop the bullying of children who couldnt afford name brand products!!!!!!!!!!! I couldnt be happier that this young lady stood up for what she believed in! I grew up in a MARINE/NAVY family and i would have done the same thing!!!!!! Semper Fi <3

  9. Kevin chambers | April 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

    This country was founded on defiance!

  10. purpleheartpark | April 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm |

    Why the Hell am I paying Taxes for a DOD School in America? School Districts are County Functions not Federal Fuctions….More Waste of Tax Dollars…

  11. Ronald bryant | April 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

    We all need to remember this country was founded on rebellion against unfair treatment.

  12. Joseph Russo | April 25, 2013 at 9:01 pm |

    Military schools should not be controlled by anti-military groups. Our children deserve the best education that can be provided. To hell with our present administration.

  13. School officials on Fort Campbell have done an about-face on a ban against allowing students to wear patriotic shirts on casual day after one student’s stand against the policy gained national media attention.

    Fire these people yesterday.

  14. if i had been incharge of that base i would have kick that moran of my base, thats a military
    base what the hell were they thinking they forget it's not pulbic land where schools can ban
    what ever they dream about in their dumb minds, sometimes school officials really show that
    they are sometimes pretty dumb.

  15. Another brat getting her way, how about setting an example and following the rules?

  16. God bless this young lady. Stand up for America and her Father.

  17. Our troops are .45% of our country
    So much is owed to so Few By so many
    I wanted to serve, I Volunteered, I knew what I was doing when I joined , I'd do it again.

    Benjamin Franklin Said
    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Our nation has grown to comfortable.
    Every politician likes to Call on the spirits of our founding fathers, but few believe or truly understand the principles that they take up and support as a cause.

    Our Founders Raged war in order to preserve our inalienable rights. Begrudgingly, they gave the Federal Government just enough power to give our nation strength, but the Constitution was not established to grant the government power, but to limit its ability to garner power.
    The last thing they wanted was the thing that has happened with all governments throughout time – the government becomes corrupt and the powerful few control the masses.

    Our government cannot keep us from speaking our minds.
    Our government cannot take from us our weapons.
    Our government cannot break into our homes to search our personal property.

    In short,We are not empowered by the government but rather we grant the government it's power.It exist because we allow it to

    The Purpose of the Constitution is to limit the power of the Government, not the American People.

  18. Lauramroberts | April 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm |

    Note that one of the reason was that the shirt was not puchased at the school's store.

    Good for her, that young lady will do well in life.

  19. so…were red collared shirts also against the dress code? If not why couldn't she have supported her father by wearing a red shirt as it was named "Red Friday's". As much as I see understand her desire to support the troops, I don't believe that this was a necessary battle.

  20. Your write-up offers verified useful to us.

    It’s really informative and you're certainly quite knowledgeable in this field. You have got popped our face to various opinion of this subject matter along with interesting and sound written content.

  21. You are stupid! Please don't post here! You never served a day, I can tell. Go away little yipping dog!

  22. This should have not been an issue to begin with. There is no way a "support the military" T-shirt would disrupt good order and discipline in the classroom. I love that those who are not in the fight are calling this young lady bad names. Really??? Go post your hate on an anti-America www site instead! This young lady has freedoms and rights that I fought for 20 years to protect. I am glad she is sticking up for her freedoms. I would want to wear a shirt like that if my mom or dad was deployed and I was her age. I bet this isn't the first or last deployment of her Dad she has to deal with. How difficult, each day dealing with not knowing if your Dad will come home alive or not. The individuals calling her a brat are really the brats in real life!

  23. chibiokasan | April 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

    Baka!!! Stupid! It's a on base school and yet they can't wear a short that supports our troops….that makes no sense at all!!!

  24. eastsidegeorgiaboy | April 28, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  25. Am I the only one that thinks she was just looking for this kind of attention? I'm not saying that she doesn't really want to support her dad, but there are other ways to support her dad. Also, she could have worn a red shirt either in polo form or, if I am not mistaken, Mahaffey offered the school shirts in red along with multiple other colors.

    I don't know. I just kind of rolled my eyes with this one.

  26. Proud American | April 29, 2013 at 9:09 am |

    PC gone wrong! Under the current administration, we cater to the unpatriotic and abnormal. Good for her for standing for what is right and just i support of her father and AMERICA as it should be!

  27. You are stupid…..Don't post here….
    Go away you little yipping dog…

    Thanks for the laugh! Colonel "oh look at my bird"

  28. wow you found "period" button!!!

  29. Wm_Bjornson | April 30, 2013 at 6:22 am |

    Gahdam Lifers will run you up on bullcrap, but when acting out themselves will wipe their butt with the UCMJ. AGAIN, 'patriotism' is a 'behavior'. Whether the term is 'Gunny' or 'Ms Gunny', the psychopaths wear the flag every day and use YOU like 'Gallipoli'. AGAIN, MajGen Smedley D. Butler, whose proud Marine's Marine memory has been suppressed by the political class for his views will help inform you of how these monsters use you. And thanks for looking up the USS LIBERTY and LBJ 'ordering back' help sent from a carrier. He committed high treason in that moment. Who owned him, Gunny? 'Patriotism' is the most manipulated and twisted political quantity in America today. Patriotism is not saluting some rag on a post nor some really BAD music with worse lyrics nor slaughtering innocent women and children by the hundreds of thousands. Patriotism is your neighbor's welfare being of as much concern to you as your own, that guy in the next rack who you really don't like but who you'll get yer ass completely shot up to pull out of harm WITHOUT EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT. Patriotism is not something you have to think of, it's something that comes out of you automatically when your context calls it up. All of Morality can be summed up in your real concern for the welfare of the human being next to you and for your People. When you murder only so others can get rich, you are no better than a mercenary, the lowest thing on Earth. That is our sole mission in the Mideast. YOU KNOW IT. Patriotism is NOT "diverse" nor is is so trivial as these people in this story make it look. Your head has been buried in the 'crotch' for 24 years and 'thinking' is not exactly encouraged, is it? But, if you so choose to 'think', then you must have the data in your head or just like a simple pc, GIGO, garbage in, garbage out. For example, learn what nanothermite is, the only place it could come from, and how much of it was in ALL of the dust from Bldgs 1, 2, and especially 7. Then, start thinking about how it could possibly have gotten there. That's 'patriotism'. Believing what the propaganda machine tells you because it's easier is NOT thinking. And, no, patriotism is not "mandatory" nor is your identity, American. But if you are truly the latter you will have, as you have arms and legs, the former. As a Marine, please don't try to lecture on diversity and free thinking. If you want to wallow in lies, enjoy watching your friends killed by patriots defending their own homeland which we have invaded for gain, stay as you are, nurture your ignorance. Gahdam me, Gunny, comes a time when you have to wake up. History is nothing but a list of great societies who have allowed themselves to eventually be overrun with wormtongued, self-only psychopathic parasites who convinced sincere people like you that THEY had a RIGHT to take anything they wanted, and destroyed the society however great it may have been. We are well on that road and we need to get serious if we are to save our America. Study! Hey, Pearl Harbor! Ask yourself if completely cutting off Japan's oil supply in June of 1941 wasn't an act of war. Ask yourself if we could have sunk a Japanese miniature submarine (confirmed, and incapable of crossing the Pacific on its own) at 0530 by the USS Ward (DD-139) patrolling the entrance to Pearl Harbor without so much as a whisper of alarm to a base supposedly on 'high alert' of just such attack, not to mention that WE, not the Japanese, fired the 'first shot' (actually the first (oil) and second (sub)). The attack came at 0815 with "NO WARNING?" Data. Propaganda. Lies. Our psychopaths are no different than their psychopaths, whomever 'they' are. Please, don't insist on being a simpleton just cuz yer a jarhaid. Read history, real history, and know your enemies, "both foreign and domestic" for their behavior, not their lying words. <a href="; rel="nofollow"&gt <a href="http://;…” target=”_blank”>;

  30. This is an outrage!!! Every American should be supporting our troops…every day, not just of Fridays! I cannot believe the gall of this school to ask CeJai to change.

  31. Retired 1SG | April 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

    I would like to know who we have running the schools on post. I cannot believe it took all that it did to get the school officials head out of his/her ass! These officials should not have any job on a military installation. They are a discrace to our men in uniform. I am very sorry that in a time when our country needs more patriotism, we are setting the example in our DOD schools. They should be ashamed!

  32. Gingerleigh | April 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

    I knew there would be some on here who blame "the current administration" for this. The school had a rule, and they changed it when the young lady (or more likely, her Mama) contacted Fox News. I have to hand it to her, that's a surefire way to get yourself some attention, especially from those who suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome. But overall, it's a triviality. We've got bigger issues to be concerned about. I don't care what she wears; it's more important what she does. She has many years to prove herself and I hope she acquits herself well. And just in case she's thinking about a military career for herself, she's going to have to learn how to wear what other folks tell her to.

  33. Ok I think a lot of you are getting stuck in the School has a dress code. Well my children have gone to a DOD school and the very shirts that they sell to the students that they can wear on dress down day is a T-shirt, or it was when we did live at a post that offered a DOD school. I think that the issue, and I may be wrong, is why can they wear a T-shirt in which the school sells in order to support the school or wear the school uniform shirt. When in fact you are on a military base and why not allow the kids to wear a shirt that is appropriate and showing support for their loved ones at the same time. It is all a little common sense, something that it seems more and more people are lacking. Maybe that should be subject in school.

  34. airam acines | April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm |

    That's what I'm talking about. Be supportive to those who fight for our safety not for the nonsense activities…..

  35. Virgil_Hilts | April 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

    OK…this is VERY bizarre! Some nameless bureaucrat somewhere in the school's chain of 'command', and probably low…has unilaterally pronounced judgement on WHAT, HOW and WHEN someone at the Middle School may wear a particular article of clothing? Why, then, is this policy not in effect at the High School? I see NO correlation between the two standards; just someone, or a group of someones, thinking it is their responsibility to micro-manage…..and yet this need magically Disappears when you hit high school? Can you say Department of Inconsistency Department?

  36. A non-issue blown out of proportion by Fox News. What else is new? I'm not sure which is sadder, a child claiming support for a highly-structured institution by breaking conduct of an institution she herself is a part of or the elevation of a T-shirt to the epitome of love and support.

  37. When children have to fight to be allowed to express their patriotism – I think we are nearing the "finished" line.

  38. Why is the military operating Department of Defense Schools in the US? County schools are not good enough for the military brats? I thought that DOD schools are for overseas only. Quantico Marine Corp Base also operates DODs schools. With excellent school district just outside their gates, (Stafford and Prince William School Districts) Quantico does not need a DOD school for their spoiled brats. Our wasted tax dollar @ work.

  39. Wm_Bjornson | April 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm |

    Relax, Al. Go read Gunga Din (deen). It's a great read and the last line says everything about the British Raj. The rhythmic meter is easy. Let's see if the mods let me post it:

    YOU may talk o' gin an' beer
    When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
    An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
    But if it comes to slaughter
    You will do your work on water, 5
    An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
    Now in Injia's sunny clime,
    Where I used to spend my time
    A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
    Of all them black-faced crew 10
    The finest man I knew
    Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.

    It was "Din! Din! Din!
    You limping lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
    Hi! slippy hitherao! 15
    Water, get it! Panee lao!
    You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din!"

    The uniform 'e wore
    Was nothin' much before,
    An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind, 20
    For a twisty piece o' rag
    An' a goatskin water-bag
    Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
    When the sweatin' troop-train lay
    In a sidin' through the day, 25
    Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
    We shouted "Harry By!"
    Till our throats were bricky-dry,
    Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.

    It was "Din! Din! Din! 30
    You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
    You put some juldee in it,
    Or I'll marrow you this minute,
    If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"

    'E would dot an' carry one 35
    Till the longest day was done,
    An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
    If we charged or broke or cut,
    You could bet your bloomin' nut,
    'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear. 40
    With 'is mussick on 'is back,
    'E would skip with our attack,
    An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire."
    An' for all 'is dirty 'ide,
    'E was white, clear white, inside 45
    When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!

    It was "Din! Din! Din!"
    With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
    When the cartridges ran out,
    You could 'ear the front-files shout: 50
    "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"

    I sha'n't forgit the night
    When I dropped be'ind the fight
    With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
    I was chokin' mad with thirst, 55
    An' the man that spied me first
    Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.

    'E lifted up my 'ead,
    An' 'e plugged me where I bled,
    An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water—green; 60
    It was crawlin' an' it stunk,
    But of all the drinks I've drunk,
    I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.

    It was "Din! Din! Din!
    'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen; 65
    'E's chawin' up the ground an' 'e's kickin' all around:
    For Gawd's sake, git the water, Gunga Din!"

    'E carried me away
    To where a dooli lay,
    An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean. 70
    'E put me safe inside,
    An' just before 'e died:
    "I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din.
    So I'll meet 'im later on
    In the place where 'e is gone— 75
    Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
    'E'll be squattin' on the coals
    Givin' drink to pore damned souls,
    An' I'll get a swig in Hell from Gunga Din!

    Din! Din! Din! 80
    You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
    Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,
    By the livin' Gawd that made you,
    You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

  40. Gerald Williams | April 30, 2013 at 9:04 pm |

    As a former school administrator, I applaud this young woman's stand. For the life of me, I cannot understand why any school district would ban the wearing of patriotic shirts on approved casual days. What are we teaching our children? The wrong message obviously! If my students had requested such a day, believe me, I would have gone to bat for them with everyone in the district. I don't take my years in the military lightly, nor do I want the public to do so! If only we had more kids with this kind of heart and soul!

  41. caplingerconnections | May 1, 2013 at 12:51 am |

    So what do the kids wear the rest of the time at school? I'm confused. If they have a designated casual day does that mean that they wear a uniform to school? I just can't imagine being made to wear a uniform to middle school even if you are a military family.

  42. Wm,

    If you please look me up on



    Al D'Adda

  43. A lot of great comments from some very knowledgeable people. I believe in following the rules; I am a Police Chief of a small town, I retired from the Army (I served a number of years as a First Sergeant). My kids would have done something similar to show their support while I was on one of my frequent deployments. I believe in following the rules; I also believe in challenging the rules I do not agree with. I believe in challenging authority that is overbearing. That is as American as it gets. And, I do not agree with school uniforms. Some kids have more than others, better shoes, pants, etc. I don't believe we should have to restrict the rights of those who work hard to acquire nice things, just to avoid offending those who don't have as much. Get used to it!! That's life. Thanks to all of you who stood for this girl.

  44. You are not an American you need to move to a Communist country where youre beliefs will be liked. Go The Heck AWAY from our Country. You should be deported!

  45. Dragonfly734 | May 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm |

    Kudos and its great to see a kid stand up for what she believes in!

  46. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like

    to send you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

  47. Everyone of these teachers and administrators at this school should be shown the door. You are on a military facility. Letting the children show their support for their family members who are in harms way is commendable. Unfortunately these people are not. The sad fact that the schools are not in sync, since the high school allows one thing, while the middle school does not. Only allowing a shirt purchased from the school also sounds unethical. Not everyone on the base is a high ranking member of the military. Disallowing vulgar words or pictures, yes, Patriotic slogans, by all means should be allowed. How about the school sell Red shirts with Patriotic sayings, too.

  48. Interesting how another school system has instituted cross dressing day, which the educational system apparently feels accomplishes some politically correct objective. With the national media, the educational system, and Washington all singing the same castrati chorus refrain, the future does not look good for the country.

    God bless America, and God bless our troops !

  49. Typical military entitled brat. "Dress code???? The rules don't apply to me"

  50. Obama is evil | June 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm |

    Facebook is now SCREENING replies that don't FLATTER OBAMA and his henchmen and women.

  51. This wasnt about wearing a patriotic shirt. It was about the school allowing certain "non-uniform" clothing on casual days, and this girl wanted to wear something that wasn't on the approved list. What if she had wanted to wear an American flag bikini on casual friday because she wanted to support her dad? Would everyone still be hooping and hollering about this? The issue wasn't that it was a shirt supporting her dad; it was that the school still had a dress code on casual Friday and this girl's shirt didn't fit with that code. The only lesson she learned from this situation was that if you throw a temper tamtrum, you can get whatever you want.

  52. Ray Reiss | June 14, 2013 at 9:02 am |

    Another example of mindless bureaucrats who cannot think for themselves but only follow what they have been ordered to do from above. " We are the Professionals. We know what we are doing. We know what's best. Trust us. And give us more money!!! We need to take back our schools from these liberals who do not care about our kids or our country. They only care about themselves, their salaries and benefits.

  53. Why does it take so much to keep these clowns in line? Just administrate the school, and stop micromanaging!

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