A North Carolina cheerleading team has been placed on probation because they did the unthinkable and held up a “Trump 2020” banner during a "Red, White, and Blue night" for the school’s football team.
The incident took place on Aug. 30 at North Stanly High School and received attention because some people were “uncomfortable” with the display.
As WTSP-TV reports:
After investigating, the Stanly County Board of Education said the students violated Policy Code: 2055 DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLICATIONS BY NON-SCHOOL GROUPS, which says:
In order to minimize disruption to the learning environment, political campaign materials may not be distributed to students or employees (including through employee mailboxes and e-mail) or made available on school grounds during school time or at school events. However, on election days, posters and printed materials are permitted at school buildings used as polling places in accordance with state law and board of elections requirements.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association placed the group on probation, which is expected to last the rest of the football season.
“NCHSAA probation, in and of itself, is not a punishment,” NCHSAA wrote in a statement, according to WTSP-TV. “It serves as a notice of behavior or action that is against NCHSAA Handbook Policy or contrary to expectations of sportsmanship and proper behavior. Should probationary infractions persist at a member school or within a team at a member school, additional sanctions such as fines or suspensions could be implemented.”
The administration claims the students won’t be prohibited from cheering or from expressing their opinions and using their First Amendment rights, but this has prompted some to wonder why the heck the school placed the cheer squad on probation in the first place.
“If the school decided it didn’t go against the code of conduct then the cheerleaders should not be punished,” a woman posted to Facebook. “Furthermore, I don’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat, you should have the right to openly support the president of the USA!!”
The students involved are not without support. Jeremy Onitreb put a Facebook group together calling on those who support the First Amendment to come out and back these cheerleaders.
“Cheerleaders at North Stanly high school Stanly County NC were put on probation for the rest of the football season for for holding a TRUMP 2020 banner!” the NC Conservatives posted to Facebook. “People said it made them feel 'uncomfortable' but this High School Athletics Association is the same nonprofit that just voted to allow boys access to girls athletic teams. They have an agenda and it’s bad for our students. Come out & show support for these kids expressing their 1st amendment rights!!”
More than 100 people are expected to show up and rally in support of the school's cheerleaders Friday evening.