Controversial ‘Team Jaylen’ T-shirts worn by some Marysville-Pilchuck H.S. students reopen old wounds

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MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District confirms that a “small number” of students were seen wearing t-shirts with the phrase “Team Jaylen” painted on them, referring to the 14-year-old school shooter who shot five friends and killed himself.

The students were spotted wearing the shirts at an optional student-planned and student-led gathering on April 24 to mark the six months since Jaylen Fryberg opened fire on five students in the cafeteria at the high school, Marysville School District officials said.

According to the Tulalip Tribe, tribal officials were alerted to the shirts after some students and adults brought the news to school administrators. The students wearing the shirts were talked to individually, and each asked to change their attire, the school district said.

Jodi Runyon, a Marysville School District spokesperson, said the school will not allow the shirts to be worn.

"The action of this small number of student was isolated to the day of the gathering," Runyon said. "However, it should be noted that any attire that could potentially disrupt the educational environment will be addressed and students will continue to be asked to remove items of clothing or other personal effects that could create such a disruption."

Runyon continued:

"We remain steadfast in our work with the Tulalip Tribes and the city of Marysville to continue on the long road of recovery and to create an environment in our schools and communities where all students can learn without disruption."

The Tulalip Tribe posted a letter about the t-shirts on May 4, saying that they created "an environment that is harmful to other students who are trying to heal and recover from the tragedy."

The victims' families responded to the T-shirts Monday. Donald Hatch, the grandfather of Nate Hatch, the only survivor at the shooting that day, agreed with the tribe's response.

"When he shot these four children and killed them and killed himself and shot my grandson, I think he lost everything, the honor of having one named after him, a T-shirt named Team Jaylen," said Donald Hatch.

He believes his grandson, who was shot that day, would feel the same.

"He’s still upset, and I don’t think he would want that," said Donald Hatch.

Gia Soriano's grandmother, Elaine Soriano, said she could understand why some of the students would want to wear those shirts. Gia was slain by Fryberg that day.

"I’m sure he (Fryberg) has family and friends that are hurting but just want to do something," said Elaine Soriano. "I don’t know if that was the right thing to do but everyone needs support."

Some students in support of the T-shirts said they didn't condone what Jaylen Fryberg did, but say they still miss him.

"He’s family, he’s friend, he’s part of the tribe," said Marysville-Pilchuck High School student Rachael Pomeroy. "We should be able to say his name; we should be able to have remembrance about him; we should be able to give him a moment of silence."

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  • The Decider

    Have they found his motive yet? And I’m curious the reason behind the shirts, like the kids know his reason or understand why he did what he did? I’m puzzled.

  • Tanya

    Other website comments are reporting that the shirts are left over/back from when Jaylen was struggling with diabetes. Not sure how true, but no matter it’s kinda tasteless. He might have been your friend or cousin but he also cold-bloodedly killed 4 people. Team MPHS or Team Victims is the ONLY thing acceptable.

  • 03sv1g

    I sincerely hope every kid who wears one of these shirts gets the living shit beat out of them. Maybe a few weeks on a ventilator will wake them up.

    • 641ao

      So using violence to get the message across that violence isn’t ok is your solution? Thiiiiiiink before you get those fingers blazing, keyboard warrior

  • Rainmetal

    Where are any of these kids parents? Jaylin’s parents were too busy leaving unsecured guns in the house. How hard was it for you to lock em up Dad? I make sure all mine are locked in safes at all times, with the office door locked on top of that. Not hard. Letting your average disconnected emotionally damaged youth of today have access to firearms is plain stupid and negligent. Oh ya, Jaylin’s Dad is not supposed to have them. Wonder why? How bout checking up on the kids social media? Nope. To busy fighting amongst themselves. All this could have been headed off if someone had paid attention to the emo postings of an obviously messed up and entitled child. And I have to ask, where are the parents of the kids wearing the T-shirts supporting that sick puppy of a child, who should be forgotten and reviled? You don’t check to see what they are wearing in the morning before they go to school, or you support what they are doing? Either way both you and your kids are a huge fail. Do ANY of you have a brain? The adult children watching these kids are totally worthless as parents, and your progeny are reflecting the values YOU teach them. NONE of those parents deserve to have children. Get the hell off your asses and pay attention to your kids.

    • Devon Rémy

      I couldn’t agree more. Lots of fail going on here, legally and parentally, according to this site’s article of 3-31-15. 1: The murderous little punk’s so-called father shouldn’t have been able to purchase FIVE firearms between January 2013 and July 2014 in the first place, because his former girlfriend had secured a permanent order of protection from the Tulalip Tribal Court – remember that name – in 2002, based on domestic violence against her. (Was he ever prosecuted for that, or was the order of protection the extent of his punishment?) 2: But he just had to have those guns, so he LIED on the disclosure form (ATF Form 4473) and answered No to the question asking if he was “subject to a court order restraining you from harassing, stalking, or threatening your child or an intimate partner or child of such partner.” 3: Even if the firearms dealer did in fact follow the law and check the FBI’s NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System), apparently tribal agencies – the Tulalip Tribal Court, in this case – “are not required to pass along information to any local, state, or federal entity for entry” into the database. Okay, for whatever reason it’s not “required,” but why wouldn’t you do it anyway? It’s a crime-fighting tool, right? Sorry, but such isolationist policies reek of arrogance and do not serve justice. 4: Even before this little puke executed his friends at the lunch table to which he had lured them, his worthless “father” had neglected to instill in him the proper respect for life and the appropriate response to “rejection” from his girlfriend. Bad enough that the son was no doubt destined to end up an angry abuser like his sperm donor, but because of lax or non-existing parenting and weak, protectionist loopholes, he far exceeded his presumed legacy of hatred. And yes, the parents of the students wearing the t-shirts bearing his name are at fault for not paying more attention, especially following the tragedy of that heinous massacre of innocents.

  • Larry Williams

    The lack of violence to stop violence is what procreates violence. These things happen in Gun Free Zones. Victims are made victims by those that impose punishment for standing up to bullies and oppressors. It may not have helped in this particular instance, maybe it would, but teaching people to be at the mercy of bullies and madmen is unacceptable.