The story attracted attention here and across the nation last week when media outlets reported that 11-year-old Art Lawrence was told to change into another shirt after a school administrator spoke up.
An article published in Wednesday's newspaper said the Lawrence family included active firefighters and had received the shirt from an uncle who serves as a firefighter in New Jersey.
The connection, however, between the Lawrence family and the Intercourse Fire Company was not immediately known. Attempts to track down the family were unsuccessful.
But then the mother reached out to the newspaper in hopes of filling in some of the details for Lancaster County residents.
She said the shirts were a gift from her uncle, Bobby Haytas, who owns a vacation home in Nottingham - just north of the Maryland border in Chester County. When he isn't at the home in Pennsylvania, he serves as a firefighter in Lakewood, N.J.
Heather Lawrence said every year her uncle makes a trip through Lancaster County, stopping along the way at local sales to purchase shirts to support local fire companies.
"With a strong family tradition in firefighting, we know that these small companies depend on fundraisers to help keep them up and running," she said, adding that her husband is a professional firefighter in Rockingham County, N.C.
Each member of the family, including Art's 5-year-old brother, received an Intercourse Fire Company T-shirt during a Thanksgiving family gathering.
"My uncle is a respectful man - he would not purposely buy his 11- year-old nephew a shirt that he thought would be inappropriate," she said.
Heather Lawrence said that when she showed up at the school wanting an explanation from the official who "humiliated" her son she was told the shirt had not caused a distraction.
"The principal told me she felt the word was embarrassing, and that brings up the larger issue of who gets to decide what is and is not appropriate," she said.
Written by Intelligencer Journal