ALBEMARLE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina High School Athletic Association, in a letter, says the probation is set to end Friday for the North Stanly High School cheerleaders who held a Trump banner during a football game in late August, according to our news partners at Spectrum News.
Stanly County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff James reportedly read a letter from the NCHSAA Thursday night at a school board meeting stating that the cheerleaders’ probation will end Friday Oct. 4. School officials say that while the probation will be lifted early, they have not changed their policies and will still not condone students holding political banners at football games.
There had been ongoing debate surrounding the probation after photos made the rounds on social media of the girls posing with a TRUMP 2020 sign during a Friday night football game in late August.
“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.”
NCHSAA officials said the probation was not a form of punishment. The probation instead was considered to be the association putting the North Stanly cheerleaders on notice, not to engage in similar behavior moving forward.
Stanly County Board of Education policy bars political advertisements on campus or at school events, according to the statement on Aug. 31. The district also said it does not make political endorsements. The cheerleaders were not punished by the school or district, but officials have asked them not to display the sign again, the district said.
Community members expressed their concerns over the NCHSAA decision.
A Sept. 20 Friday night football game that was scheduled for North Stanly High School was canceled due to security concerns, school officials said.
Superintendent Dr. Jeff James provided a full statement regarding the decision to cancel the game.
“The events earlier today with a potential threat against the school, eventually being deemed unsubstantiated and some additional information protected by federal guidelines came to our attention. We could not afford to have our students, staff or community be in harm’s way,” Dr. James said.
A group of people assembled at the empty field across the street from North Stanly High School that Friday to support the school’s cheerleaders. Supporters believed the teens did nothing wrong.
The Stanly County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook on the following Tuesday that several students at the school had expressed concerns about Friday’s football game and possible fights stemming from the protests. Deputies stressed that no threats were made and that students did not mention any type of threat to the school or students, other than the concern of fights. Deputies also said the information they received was not related to any information that school officials received that caused the cancellation. Deputies said they are unaware of what that information was.