When Northwestern High School's Principal James Blake heard students planned to dress up to protest a rumored campus-wide ban on camouflage clothing, there was only one thing for him to do - join them.
Blake showed up at school Thursday sporting a camo T-shirt and hat.
He encouraged teachers and administrators to do the same, hoping that would defuse the rumor, which swirled around campus this week through conversations and social media websites.
"The kids say, 'Mr. Blake, why are you wearing camouflage?'" he said. "I tell them 'Facebook told me to.'"
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Northwestern administrators first heard about the protest Wednesday when parents began calling to ask about it. Students had heard that an administrator had disciplined a classmate for wearing camouflage because the clothing was "racist."
That never happened, Blake said.
"Camouflage is not banned at Northwestern High School," he said.
Still, teens organized online, posting Facebook and Twitter updates urging others to show up at school Thursday decked out in camo. Petitions against banning the clothing circulated.
On Thursday, students arrived in varying styles of camouflage. Senior Dori Alston figures nearly half the school wore it.
"They've got on whole outfits, head to toe," she said.
Rumors are nothing new on high school campuses, but through social media, they can spread farther and faster than ever.
Blake encouraged teachers to approach the issue as a teachable moment with lessons about the speed and impact of social media and "how following misguided information can be disruptive."
"Facebook, Twitter and those types of things - that's how kids communicate," he said. "I don't want the misinformed to lead the actions."
Sophomore Kane McCoy wore light-colored camo shorts and a shirt.
"I went to school thinking that they were planning on banning it," he said, but after seeing Blake and teachers in camo, "I felt better about the situation."
Kimberly Strait, McCoy's mom, said Blake eased her concerns.
"It's hilarious that he did that," she said, "It deflects the problem."