A group of cheerleaders in North Carolina branded a Catholic high school as a haven for white “privilege” when they held up a sign that read, “Sniff sniff. You Smell that? Privilege” during a football game.
Written in white and flanked by dollar signs, the message from the Butler High School cheerleading intended to slander the Charlotte Catholic as a place for rich, privileged whites – an assertion some parents found disturbing.
“The thing that was so disturbing was it was children,” Parent Melissa Swanson told local station WBTV. “Whether they are high school, elementary school or middle school – they’re children. The administration, the coaches, the athletic director – they had to know it.”
Swanson added she was a single mom who works hard to have her son attend Charlotte Catholic, dispelling the rich “white privilege” myth.
“Here we are at a rich white high school and they are all lucky. We have it hard. They don’t,” she said. “And that’s not the case by no means. I am a single mom and I raise my son on my own and we pay for that school and work hard to be there.”
Charlotte Mecklenburg School District (CMS) later issued an apology on behalf of Butler High School, calling the sign “insensitive” while ensuring that consequences will be brought to those responsible:
CMS is aware of an insensitive banner displayed by the Butler HS cheerleading squad prior to the school’s football game versus Charlotte Catholic last Friday. Squad members and adults responsible for oversight will face consequences as a result of that banner display. School and district officials will offer no specific information about this disciplinary matter. Principal Golden and Learning Community Superintendent Tangela Williams have spoken with leaders from Charlotte Catholic to offer verbal apologies. Butler High School cheerleaders have sent an apology letter to counterparts at Charlotte Catholic. Soon there will be a meeting between the schools’ cheerleading squads to facilitate goodwill and understanding.
Charlotte Catholic High School principal Kurt Telford accepted the apology and expressed hope that the schools will continue to have a positive relationship.
“We appreciate the outreach we’ve received from the Butler High School community and are confident our good relationship with them will continue,” said Telford. “We understand how emotions surrounding sports events can sometimes result in actions that do not represent an organization’s values.”