Father defends student’s mugshot t-shirt: ‘It was a joke’

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By Jill Glavan

MARION, Ind. (September 11, 2014) -- The father of a teenager who wore a controversial t-shirt with another student's mugshot on it is defending the shirts.

FOX59 spoke earlier this week to the family of the student whose mugshot is on the shirts, who said it had crossed the line of high school rivalry.

However, Nick Hobbs, whose daughter is among the students at Marion High School who organized the shirt, said it's not what it looks like.

"It was in no way, shape or form how it was portrayed. ... It was a joke," Hobbs said.

Hobbs and his daughter said the t-shirt was innocent and the result of back-and-forth on social media that included the student pictured.

"He even put on Twitter, 'Where can I get one of those shirts?'" Hobbs' daughter Shianna said.

Hobbs even pointed to a photo posted of the student in the photo wearing one of the t-shirts a day later.

"I think it was really (blown) out of proportion," Hobbs said.

But FOX59 took this story back to the family of that student in the mugshot, Alex Rittenhouse, who spoke to us himself over the phone and said that he joked about it on purpose.

"It didn’t really come off as a joke to my family. They might have thought it was ... but I didn't want Marion to see me get upset because I know that's what they wanted," Rittenhouse said.

Rittenhouse's aunt said she hoped other parents would consider that just because a teenager acts like something doesn't matter, it does not necessarily show what's happening behind closed doors.

Still, Hobbs is insistent that there is another side to the story and said his daughter is not a bully and didn't do anything but joke around.

"We didn’t want him to get hurt. If he had texted us and told us to take off the shirts, we would’ve (taken) them off. ... We don't want to embarrass him or anything," Shianna Hobbs said.

"This has kind of gone a little too far," Hobbs said.

Marion High School administrators made students remove the shirts at school and at the game last week. District officials called this situation "disappointing."

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