The superintendent of a West Virginia school district has issued an apology after a “Trump” banner was displayed at one of her school’s football games last Friday evening.
A “Trump Perry” sign was put up at Brooke High School’s game against Pittsburgh’s Perry High School. Brooke’s student body is mostly white, Perry’s black.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in a letter to Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet, Brooke County Schools’ Toni Paesano Shute said that the display was “insensitive, intimidating and offensive.”
“The sign’s message does not reflect our true beliefs nor what we want to teach our children,” Shute wrote. “Policies were not followed by the schools administrators to ensure a climate free from bullying and harassment, and as a result people were offended in our home. We have a moral obligation to teach our children, and we will make this a teachable moment to instill the core values of respect and dignity for all.”
Perry High School librarian Sheila May-Stein tweeted out (which included the name of (in)famous racism monitor Shaun King) that the banner was an example of “sickening racism”:
— Sheila May-Stein (@smaystein) September 23, 2017
The [Brooke] football team’s Twitter account provided an explanation, saying “every home game a different theme and this one was red white & blue so we used the saying ‘trump’ for double meaning. Being one our president and two using the world ‘trump’ which also means ‘beat.’ Also this was our first time ever playing them.”
Others likewise described it as a misunderstanding, saying the theme was planned in advance and wasn’t meant to be racially charged.
“The use of the current President’s name is an intentional signal to opponents that they are in ‘Trump’ territory — and that has real meaning, especially for our Black children in this moment,” she wrote. “… I am appalled that the adults in your school district not only approved of this sign, but are actively celebrating it, making it the featured photograph on the official school team Twitter page. This is what racism in America looks like today.”
Despite the controversy, the Perry coaching staff reported “the overall game experience went well without incident,” and that the “Brooke team and cheerleaders treated Perry players and cheerleaders cordially.”
h/t to EAGNews.org
IMAGE: Max Sparber/Flickr