The North Stanly School District canceled their Friday night high school football game due to security concerns, only a few days after cheerleaders were placed on probation. They committed a school violation by unfurling a Trump 2020 banner and posing with it for a photo.
What really seemed to rile people up was this:
Some from the community and some from miles around were going to the game in Trump gear in support of the cheerleaders.
#BREAKING: Stanly County Schools says the North Stanly High School football game scheduled for Friday night has been cancelled due to safety concerns. Supporters of the cheerleading squad say they won’t be silenced. This man drove from Waxhaw to be here. @WCCBCharlotte pic.twitter.com/8KtsiGve6T
— Alexandra Elich (@AlexandraWCCB) September 20, 2019
The school got wind of the supporters planning to attend the game and canceled. School officials said they had received “additional information that could compromise safety measures our schools have in place for sporting events.”
This is the photo taken before the August 30th game that led to the brouhaha.
Many on social media wondered if this would be such an extreme violation warranting probation for the entire season if it was a photo of Hillary or Barack Obama or even Joe Biden.
Nonetheless, the school has the authority to punish the students. They didn’t actually punish them, probably after the firestorm against them, so the State Athletic Association did it instead. They put the kids on probation.
Dozens rallied across the street from the high school Friday night instead. They see the punishment as extreme and the game cancelation as an effort to silence the cheerleaders’ supporters.
The district says there is a policy against the distribution of campaign material at school events, and the cheerleaders being representatives of the school in uniform, may give the impression the school or district is endorsing a political campaign.
The supporters of the cheerleaders see it as an effort to limit their free speech.
“Our liberties are being taken from us day by day, minute by minute, hour by hour they’re gaining ground. I’m tired of it,” says Jeremy Onitreb.
“Support the first amendment, freedom of speech,” says Abigail Blue.
WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich went live on Facebook at the rally where a number of people think the district did the right thing.
One of the district supporters commented, “They can do what they like when they aren’t representing the school.”
Another said, “They broke a rule y’all trying to make it into some political rights thing. The bottom line is they knew the rules they broke them they are being punished.”
As an educator, I can tell you that issues like this usually only come with a verbal warning, not season-long probation. It seems like overkill, especially since Donald Trump is the President.
This is a no-never-mind.