Two-time cancer survivor has to change "Survivor" t-shirt due to school dress code

A two-time cancer survivor violated his school's dress code when he wore a cancer "survivor" t-shirt.

Tyler Powers, 16, who attends Ridgewood High School in Florida, was told by his teacher to go to the in-school suspension room because he violated the school's new dress code policy that says logos on student's t-shirts can't be larger than a quarter.

Powers was wearing American Cancer Society Relay for Life "survivor" t-shirt.

He had three options. He could stay in ISS (in-school suspension), call his parents to bring him a new shirt, or use a shirt that the school gives him until the end of the day.

Powers chose to use a school shirt.

"I have purple Ridgewood shirt. I assumed the shirt I grabbed that morning was a school shirt," Powers told "I was extremely disappointed in the staff, anyone who has been at the high school for two weeks knows that I am a two-time leukemia survivor."

Powers was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 5 years old and cured at age 7, but later relapsed and was cured again at age 10.

The school district said the teacher who approached Powers was following the rules.

"She never noticed what was on his shirt and he ever mentioned anything about being a cancer survivor," Linda Cobbe, spokesperson for Pasco County Schools told "If he had said something, she would have listened empathetically and explained to him how the logo size limit applies to all shirts and that they can't discriminate by allowing one student to wear a special shirt."

The new dress code is part of a pilot program aimed at improving academic and discipline problems at the school, including poor test scores, attendance rates and gang activity, according to the school.

Powers said he chose to wear a school t-shirt instead of stay in in-school suspension because he's never had a disciplinary issue on his record.

"Overall I'm disappointed. They are saying they want to send a positive message through the dress code but having a good at spirit school and being able to wear what you want, that helps you in school," Powers said.

Power's dad, Timothy Powers, said he thinks the school needs to rethink the dress code.

"I think they need to reel it back in. The big thing is the dress code they have there is not the standard county dress code," Timothy told "It seems to follow the whim of the principal."