An Ottawa Senators fan who was perplexed to learn that she couldn't wear her team's jersey to her Montreal school received an invitation from the owner of the Senators to watch a home game on Tuesday night.
On the day the two rivals began their playoff series, Keila Penner, 11, who attends Maple Grove Elementary School in Lachine, and other students at the school were told they could wear their jerseys in to school -- so long as it was a Habs shirt, reports Global News.
Penner’s teacher told her that wearing a Sens jersey was a contravention of the school’s dress code policy.
“She [the teacher] pulled me out of class telling me that it was a Habs jersey-only day so I told her if you have a problem with my shirt, please call my dad,” Penner told Global News.
After speaking with the principal, she was given the option to either call her father and go home, or switch into a white shirt, part of the school’s standard dress code.
Penner also refused the option to change into a Habs jersey offered to her by her gym teacher, according to CJAD 800. Penner opted to return home rather than change. Penner also said she was bullied by some of her classmates.
“There was a lot of people going up to my face telling me [the Senators] suck and they’re going to lose tonight,” Penner told Global News. “It made me angry and sad. Stop bullying me just because I’m wearing a Senators shirt.”
Keila’s father, Cary, said he was shocked at the decision by the school.
“I think they missed an opportunity to teach a good lesson,” he told CTV Montreal. “Especially about bullying and bullying is such a big thing now.”
A spokesperson for the Lester B. Pearson School Board, which oversees Maple Grove Elementary School, told Global News that school officials were acting in the best interests of the child when they asked her to remove her Sens’ shirt.
There was a silver lining to Keila Penner's story. Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Senators, invited the entire Penner family to watch Game 4 of the series and even gave the teen an autographed team jersey. You can watch video of Penner's night out on the Ottawa Senators official page.
“I was speechless; I didn’t know what to say,” Penner told 1310 News.
Her presence might have been a lucky charm for the Senators. Ottawa won 3-2 in overtime courtesy of a Kyle Turris goal and they lead the series 3-1.
Penner even got a shoutout from Melnyk after the game.
— Eugene Melnyk (@MelnykEugene) May 8, 2013