A high school in North Carolina has placed several of their cheerleaders on probation, after they were seen posing with a “Trump 2020” banner.
Controversy arose after members of the cheer squad at North Stanly High School in New London, N.C., posted a pre-game photo of themselves holding a Donald Trump 2020 banner that read, “Trump 2020 Make America Great Again.”
According to the Stanly News & Press the team was celebrating the school’s “American Night” at the football game where students were encouraged to wear red, white, and blue colors to show their patriotism.
The school claimed that when the photo was published online, it made some students feel “uncomfortable.”
@wsoctv @cnn @MSNBC @maddow @NPR @realDonaldTrump this is @northstanly @WBTV_News North Stanly High School in Stanly County North Carolina. Can't figure out how the football team/Cheerleaders campaigning is appropriate. Unless to them it is more than a campaign sign. pic.twitter.com/dTDUdTdvxM
— flipbrown (@flipbrown) August 31, 2019
The school did not report just who made the complaint nor how many complaints it received, but they made clear that their policy doesn’t allow for “political campaign endorsements.”
“Stanly County Schools never makes political campaign endorsements,” the school district said in a statement. “These policies ensure that all students, staff, and visitors are able to attend school events in an environment that promotes students and not a particular political viewpoint.”
The school sanctioned the team and placed them on probation for the remainder of the football season.
“One of the rules we have is that every contest should be conducted in a wholesome, athletic environment,” North Carolina High School Athletic Association Commissioner Que Tucker told the paper. “We take that to mean that it’s in an environment where good sportsmanship is shown, where people feel safe … that respect for all people participating is being shown.”
The paper added that the school punished the girls because “the incident caused concern for many and helped create a negative athletic environment.”
Despite punishing the girls for expressing their opinion, the school offered at least one quixotic proclamation saying, “Stanly County Schools respects the rights of its students, staff, and visitors to express their opinions in a respectful manner on their own time.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.