She's got spirit, it's just a little misguided
Pep rallies at high schools certainly have the power to bring students together and let them bond, but the incident that happened at an Alabama school’s rally this fall merely worked to divide the students. A few teens thought that it would be a good idea to exercise their patriotism by praising our current president and creating a rather racially-insensitive sign. Not only are those students being reprimanded for their efforts, they’ve got to deal with the ire and praise of a country seriously divided already.
The photo in question shows two blonde-haired students and a mascot in a bear suit. One girl is holding a sign that reads “Put the ‘Panic’ Back in Hispanic,” while the other girl is holding a Trump flag. The original picture was posted by one of the students in the photo; the caption read: “Put the Panic back in Hispanic. #dontgetButthurt I’m honestly not gonna care if you do anyways so!! #sorryboutit.”
The city of Robertsdale is host to the largest percentage of Hispanic people on the coast of Alabama.
Jennifer Lopez Vazquez reposted the image to show other people who might not know these students what was going on. She said, “This happened yesterday at our school pep rally. They know it’s Hispanic Month. That’s very disrespectful in so many way. But it’s funny to think our school thinks it ‘OKAY.’”
She finished her post with the statement: “This is honestly what white trash looks like.”
The school got involved in the incident after the image went viral and news outlets began reporting on it. The Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler issued a statement:
“We are aware of a photo that appears to be taken at a Robertsdale High School football pep rally Friday Sept. 15 that is circulating on social media containing political banners and unacceptable language. School administrators, as well as my office, are following up on the matter.”
Internet commenters are on both sides of this debate. Some are saying that they weren’t attacking anyone or breaking laws; others are saying that this is no place for racially-insensitive materials.
Twitter user Tiffany Lewis said, “How could this young woman’s parents let her out the door with that sign? I would be appalled as a parent. Teach [love].” User @its_ginaa commented, “How how how is this racist? Because it’s a Trump/Pence sign? It’s called political differences.”
Another high school in the same district has come under fire recently for a “culture of bias discrimination.” Spanish Fort High School senior Julia Coccaro, chairwoman of the Alabama High School Democrats, formally complained that a summer reading list made by teacher Gene Ponder featured nothing but the writings of conservative political authors. Superintendent Tyler said that he didn’t mind what was on the list but did remove it from the curriculum because it wasn’t pre-approved.
Just as the debate about what NFL players should do when the National Anthem plays rages on and gets more intense, this small stunt has turned into a huge debate about the freedom of speech and the rules of school.
Do you think that these students should be disciplined for their actions, or do they have every right to offend others? Let us know what you think about this difficult situation in the comments and SHARE this story.