Freedom of speech, our First Amendment right, is one the broader issues that the left is continually demanding and one they say gets oppressed and infringed upon far too often. And yet, it seems they have no qualms whatsoever at turning that right on its head when it comes to conservative supporters getting air time or even the smallest hint of right-wing affection.
And while it’s never ok, to punish Americans, whether they swing left or right, for expressing their opinions and beliefs, doing so to children is absolutely heinous. But that is precisely what has happened to several high school cheerleaders in North Carolina.
On August 30, a group of cheerleaders from North Stanly High School was prepping for a Friday night football game. During this time, the group posed with a pro-Trump banner reading “Trump 2020: ‘Make America Great Again.’” Of course, the photos were posted on social media and were well circulated.
However, someone must not have liked this because, on Monday morning, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association or NCHSAA immediately placed all students involved with the photos on “probation.” The disciplinary action would prohibit them from cheering for an entire year.
According to North Carolina high school policy, students are forbidden to participate in political messages, especially on school grounds or while involved with a school function. The school district’s superintendent Jeff James said the probation was put into place to ensure that the students “don’t do it again.”
While the students are not allowed to cheer for their team at sporting events, they will still be required to attend those school functions, as well as any practices. It has been noted that if the students continue to display political messages, they may be fined or even suspended from school.
However, the group of rebellious students has quite a crowd of support behind them. Already, nearly 1,000 members of the community have committed to attending the next football game wearing Trump campaign attire, and MAGA hats in support of the students.
The event page, which has been organized via Facebook, reads, “Please come out and help me show the school and the NCHSAA that freedom of speech is not dead.” And it continued, “Please bring all your Trump and MAGA gear and let’s throw our support behind the North Stanly High School cheerleaders.”
A local conservative radio host has also chosen to back the group. Todd Starnes even called out Republican Congressman Mark Meadows to come to the aid of the group. Meadows represents the district the high school is located in.
Starnes wrote on Twitter, “Hey @MarkMeadows – the @NCHSAA is targeting the North Stanly High School cheerleaders because they were photographed with a pro-Trump banner. They need your help, Congressman!”
The high school, which is currently standing behind their decision and the students’ punishment, must be receiving a lot of grief over the situation, particular on their social media networks. They have recently shut down both their Facebook and Twitter pages. When anyone from the public or community members try to reach either, whether from the school’s website or directly, only error messages are received.
It would seem they don’t want to hear about the community’s outrage.
Of course, they don’t. But they need to. They need to understand that this punishment is a direct violation of the students’ First Amendment rights. They wouldn’t take kindly to their own rights being infringed upon.
And no, maybe it wasn’t their decision to put the punishment into place at the onset. But they surely should have some amount of say in handling their own students.
Furthermore, it seems this isn’t the first incident in the state of North Carolina where a student’s rights have been violated. Last year, during a high school football game, a student in attendance was forced to take off a pro-Trump jersey.
Unlike the cheerleaders, this young man wasn’t even participating in the school event. He wasn’t on the football team, part of the cheer squad, or even a water boy. He was merely in attendance. And it was supposed to be a patriotic-themed game at that. I would say showing support for our President, and not in an election year would be an excellent example of patriotism. I guess I’m wrong.
I’d say someone involved in the North Carolina legislature needs to gain control of the school system and make sure that these students are no longer punished for merely practicing their Constitutional rights.