A high school cheerleading squad has been placed on probation by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, after the girls posed with a Trump 2020 sign during their football team's Red, White, and Blue night.
What are the details?
The football cheerleaders at North Stanly High School were reprimanded after fellow students asked them to hold up a campaign sign endorsing President Donald Trump during a home game last month.
North Stanly junior Carson Palmer told WCNC-TV he and a friend brought the sign because of the theme of the night, saying, "It was just what came to our mind when we thought of the United States of America." The two buddies asked the cheerleaders to pose with the sign and snap some pictures, and thought nothing of it until they were called into the principal's office a few days later.
The Saturday after the game, the school district released a statement saying, "Stanly County Schools is aware of the incident occurring last night at the North Stanly High School football game. We are currently investigating this matter but as of this morning we have determined this was not an act planned or endorsed by school staff."
Ultimately, neither the school itself nor the district punished the girls, but simply asked them not to display further political signs. Yet now, the cheerleading squad is on probation for breaking the rules of the NCHSAA.
According to The Daily Mail, officials say the squad is not being punished (since they're still allowed to cheer), but that the probation is merely a warning. However, if the girls display a political banner again, authorities made it clear that they can issue fines or suspensions.
"The focus of Friday night football games should be on our students — the players, cheerleaders, band members — the focus should not be on politics," officials said in a statement, reported by WBTV-TV.
Palmer told WTSP-TV, "I think it's just been blown way out of proportion and twisted a lot from what it was intended to be. It was never our intention to upset the community and never was our intent to get the cheerleaders on probation."
An event in support of the cheerleaders has been launched on Facebook, encouraging folks to show up to this Friday's game to "show the school and the NCHSAA that freedom of speech is not dead."