Cheerleaders at a North Carolina high school have been put on probation after they took a group photo with a TRUMP 2020 sign and put it on social media.
The Stanly County students from North Stanly High were put on notice by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, who will allow them to cheer, but only if they refrain from delving into politics again.
Brandi Bennett, who became upset after someone showed her the photo on social media and reported it to the school system, claims she was bothered that such an event would take place at a school function.
“Football games are there to entertain. And that should be the one time you can get away from the political views,” she said.
According to WBTV, the school district has since stated that they will not be disciplining the girls.
“During the football game that evening, the cheerleaders, while in uniform, held up a political campaign sign,” Stanly County Schools wrote in a statement. “Neither Stanly County Schools nor North Stanly High School disciplined the cheerleaders for this action. The focus of an athletic event should be on our students – not politics – which is why the school board has a policy that prohibits the distribution of political campaign material at school events or school publications. This policy is in place to ensure the school system remains neutral on political issues and the focus remains on our students.
This policy does not prohibit students from speaking their minds or engaging in protected First Amendment activities. Because the cheerleaders were in uniform and were acting as representatives of the school, the display of the sign could be perceived as the school or school system endorsing a political campaign. For this reason, the only action Stanly County Schools has taken is to ask the cheerleaders not to display the sign again.”
Stanly County is a conservative stronghold outside of the more liberal city of Charlotte, which itself is surrounded on all sides by conservative counties. North Carolina has undergone a massive political division shift in recent years, as tech companies set up shop in the traditionally conservative state- and changing the culture along with it.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Onitreb, a local community member, has decided to an event to support the cheerleaders.
“This was an ultimate violation of the First Amendment and I had to do something about it,” Onitreb said.
In true American spirit, Onitreb is inviting anyone who wants to join to wave flags across from the school Friday night before the game.
“I don’t care if it’s a Bernie flag,” he said. “This is all about the First Amendment. I don’t want to suppress anyone else’s free speech, and I don’t want anyone else to suppress mine.”
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