During a sports match between Brooke High School, West Virginia and visiting school Perry High School from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, a student unfurled a red, white and blue banner reading “Trump Perry.” A librarian took a picture of the banner, and the image quickly went viral, alongside accusations of racism.
Sheila May-Stein, a librarian with the Pittsburgh public school uploaded a photo of the banner on Twitter from Saturday’s match, in which the students from Brooke High stood behind the banner smiling and cheering.
Sheila May-Stein tweeted, in disgust and shock, “My mostly Black, inner-city school played this team last night & were confronted w/this. Sickening racism.”
Meanwhile, a parent from the same Pittsburg school wrote a letter to the Brooke County school district, demanding an apology, explaining. “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.”
Shocked that the West Virginia students would use such an offensive symbol as a red, white and blue banner, with the current President’s name on it, the parent continued, “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.”
The Brooke County Superintendent responded with the following letter, admitting that the visiting team’s banner should have been confiscated. Superintendent Toni Shute called the banner, “insensitive, intimidating and offensive.”
She continued, “The sign’s message does not reflect our true beliefs nor what we want to teach our children,” and added, “Policies were not followed by the school’s 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.”
Brooke’s high school football, the individuals responsible for creating the banner, argued that the banner was intended to have to have a clever double meaning and was not meant to be racist. The team’s Twitter account argued that every game has a different banner theme and this one was red white & blue so we used the saying ‘Trump’ for its double meaning of the President’s name, and a word that means, “to outrank or defeat someone.”
Is it possible that this incredibly silly “misunderstanding” is because the adults and librarians of the Pittsburg school district simply don’t have a developed enough vocabulary to notice the harmless pun on the banner?
Thankfully, a petition has started to circulate, calling for Shute to apologize for – what looks to all but a few – as a blatant overreaction. The petition reads;
“Mrs. Shute was completely out of line and overreacted by apologizing to the ‘Entire Pittsburgh Perry Community’ for signs at a football game between the BHS team and Perry that said ‘Trump Perry’ in Red, White and Blue the colors of the American Flag. She took it upon herself to politicize the sign as an endorsement for President Donald J Trump instead of a creative design from a student or students. Her political correct beliefs have no place in the Brooke County School System.”
The petition concludes, declaring, “Children under our education system should be taught that ‘freedom’ of expression is allowed and that the superintendent and other educators should not press upon students their personal political beliefs and political correctness.” And prompts parents to, “take a stand against educators who try to indoctrinate your children into their personal political beliefs.”
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, is the home to the newest NFL team, the Pittsburg Kneelers…