Football game canceled due to ‘safety concerns’ after cheerleaders hold up Trump 2020 banner

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Photos of the cheerleaders were circulated on social media (a version pictured above) before he North Carolina High School Athletic Association decided to take action

Martin Mawyer

Things are turning ugly in a North Carolina school district after cheerleaders were put on “probation” for holding up pro-Trump signs.

The controversy has gotten so severe, that Stanly County Schools had to cancel its Friday football game at North Stanly High School out of “safety concerns.”

The raucous began after pictures of the cheerleaders with a “Trump 2020” banner was posted to social media prior to an August 30 game at North Stanly, which is about 50 miles northeast of Charlotte.

After the posting began to gain wide circulation, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association decided to take action by placing the cheerleading squad on probation for one year. 

County Schools Superintendent Jeff James has said all North Carolina schools have a policy against displaying political signs.

But decision caused an immediate community backlash, with many outraged parents and local residents scheduling a protest over the decision that would take place during last Friday’s scheduled football game.  

A Facebook “event page” was created to invite locals to join in on the protest.

“Please come out and help me show the school and the NCHSAA that freedom of speech is not dead. Please bring all your Trump and MAGA gear and lets throw our support behind the North Stanly High School cheerleaders,” the event page stated.  

Supposedly fearing some sort of political violence, Stanly County Schools sent out a Twitter message saying the protest “could compromise safety measures” and said the September 20 game would be “canceled.”

Those planning to attend the protest saw things differently, saying the cancellation had nothing to do with “safety measures,” but everything to do with shutting down their right to hold a demonstration.

‘There was no threat,’ Jeremy Onitreb, one of the rally organizers, told the McClatchy news group. ‘Nobody’s coming up there to hurt the kids. It’s not what this was about.’

‘We are here for those cheerleaders who have been wrongly accused of being racist, nazis and any other name you can think of,’ Onitreb said.

‘The reason they decided to cancel the game is because somebody out there wanted to shut down our free speech so bad — they wanted to shut this rally down so bad — that they were willing to call the school and threaten the school,’ Onitreb said in a Facebook live video on the event page.

‘I’m flabbergasted,’ he added.

School officials claimed the “probation” was not meant to punish the girls, but only to serve as a warning not to display political banners in the future.

“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.

“For this reason, we are hopeful the situation will resolve, and our student athletes can have a successful fall season.”

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