Attleboro High senior Jack Sweeney got pushback on social media after he and friends donated $100 to buy a new pair of work boots for the school's long-time custodian. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio)
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — It all started when Attleboro High School students, led by senior Jack Sweeney, donated money to buy a $100 pair of boots for beloved long-time custodian Tony Coelho.
Attleboro High School Principal Bill Runey told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe they wanted to show their appreciation.
"Tony will drop anything to help somebody," Runey said. "They wanted to pay that in kind."
The gift was recorded, and posted on social media. While most comments and feedback were positive, someone questioned whether or not the gift violates state ethics rules—which prohibit giving gifts of over $50 to public employees.
That created an uproar, which astounded Principal Runey.
"I think it's small minded, it's hurtful, and it's short sighted," Runey said.
Sweeney and the other students were surprised, too.
"Stuff like this happens all the time," Sweeney said. "You can't have a good deed go without some type of problem, I feel like, but I didn't imagine that it would end up being a problem that a teacher would bring up."
In the end, Coelho decided to donate the boots to someone who
"Two acts of kindness are better than one," Sweeney said. "Giving back is always a great feeling. People will always push back against it, but I think kindness can persevere."
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports