SEALY – It was supposed to be a tribute to a fallen friend, but the school wouldn't allow it.
In fact, the principal of Sealy High School told students their tribute t-shirts were a violation of the school's dress code and that they would have to change their shirts.
That angered the boy's mom who held a special party to honor what would have been her son's 16th birthday.
"All it is his name and the day he was born and the day he died," said Roxanne Mahaffey, the mother of 15-year-old Darrion Mahaffey, who died in a car accident earlier this year.
Those who didn't change choose to call their parents and leave school.
"(The principal) basically told me it was against dress code," said senior Maegan Rhodes. "It hurt my feelings at the same time because you are telling me to take off family."
Sealy ISD's superintendent Sheryl Moore released a statement:
Experiencing the loss of a loved one is devastating and difficult. Unfortunately, we have experience this more than once in our school district. While we understand the desire to honor the memory of a loved one or friend, the wearing of memorial shirts is not allowed per student dress code. Ultimately this is out of concern for our students and respect for the families that may be working through their grief.
School leaders say this policy was put into place after several shirts were made for students who committed suicide. These parents hope they will reconsider, especially for students who die in accidents.
Some students say they understand the rule.
"If I see someone I don't like wearing his shirt, it's going to get me the wrong way," said Rhodes.
But it didn't make what would have been their friend's 16th birthday any easier.
"It saddens me because this is the only way they can cope," said parent Heather Maldonado.