‘Trump’ sign at HS football game prompts cries of racism
WELLSBURG, W.Va. – The mostly white Brooke High School in West Virginia faces allegations of racism after a Friday football game against Pittsburgh’s mostly black Perry High School featured a student-made banner that read “Trump Perry.”
Numerous students donned red, white and blue for Friday’s game, which featured a home-team banner with the words “Trump Perry” alongside an American flag. The Brooke team posted an image of the banner on its social media sites, and the backlash from the game and online has been brutal, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
“My mostly Black, inner-city school played this team last night & were confronted w/ this,” Perry librarian Sheila May-Stein posted to Twitter on Saturday along with an image of the banner. “Sickening racism.”
“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,” Pittsburgh parent Jessie Ramey wrote in an open letter to Brooke County Superintendent Toni Paesano Shute.
“… 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,” Ramey wrote. “This is what racism in America looks like today.”
The Booke team’s Twitter account, however, provided a much different rational for the banner that has nothing to do with racism.
The account, which featured the banner until late Monday morning, contends “every home game a different theme and this one was red white & blue so we used the saying ‘trump’ for double meaning.
“Being one our president and two using the world (sic) ‘trump’ which also means ‘beat,’” according to the Twitter page. “Also this was our first time ever playing them.”
Brooke High School did “trump” Perry, 34-20, according to the Post-Gazette, but now Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet is calling for a meeting with Shute to discuss the allegedly racist banner, though it’s unclear if or when that might happen.
PPS spokeswoman Ebony Pugh told the school board the banner was featured on both Brooke High School’s Facebook and Twitter pages, but otherwise the game went great.
“According to the Perry coaching staff the overall game experience went well without incident. The Brooke team and cheerleaders treated Perry players and cheerleaders cordially,” Pugh said. “Perry coaches did not report any further incidents from game attendees.”
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