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CMS offers apology to Charlotte Catholic High School for insensitive sign at football game

Parents were stunned that student cheerleaders held the sign. They called the sign disappointing.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg School District (CMS) leaders apologizing to Charlotte Catholic High School for a huge sign that was seen at the Friday Football game against Butler High School.

The sign had the word “privilege” written on it implying students who attend Charlotte Catholic are privileged. The Butler HS football team ran through the sign.

Parents were stunned that student cheerleaders held the sign. They called the sign disappointing.

“The thing that was so disturbing was it was children,” Parent Melissa Swanson said. “Whether they are high school, elementary school or middle school - they’re children. The administration, the coaches, the athletic director - they had to know it.”

Swanson and her son attended the football game. She thought the sign was mean-spirited. Here’s her interpretation of the sign.

“Here we are at a rich white high school and they are all lucky. We have it hard. They don’t,” she said. “And that’s not the case by no means. I am a single mom and I raise my son on my own and we pay for that school and work hard to be there.”

CMS sent this statement to WBTV.

“CMS is aware of an insensitive banner displayed by the Butler HS cheerleading squad prior to the school’s football game versus Charlotte Catholic last Friday. Squad members and adults responsible for oversight will face consequences as a result of that banner display. School and district officials will offer no specific information about this disciplinary matter. Principal Golden and Learning Community Superintendent Tangela Williams have spoken with leaders from Charlotte Catholic to offer verbal apologies. Butler High School cheerleaders have sent an apology letter to counterparts at Charlotte Catholic. Soon there will be a meeting between the schools’ cheerleading squads to facilitate goodwill and understanding,” Vicki Grooms, CMS Media Relations Specialist, wrote.

Swanson agrees students should apologize. While CMS is taking action - the Charlotte Catholic High School principal was forgiving and released this statement.

“We appreciate the outreach we’ve received from the Butler High School community and are confident our good relationship with them will continue. We understand how emotions surrounding sports events can sometimes result in actions that do not represent an organization’s values. It is our hope that everyone will learn from such moments because at the end of the day we are all one community,” Principal Kurt Telford of Charlotte Catholic High School wrote.

The mother had to explain the sign to her son who is in the 4th grade.

“I just said it’s unfortunate that these things have to be discussed every day,” the mother said. “And it’s not right and that’s why I am so glad I do have him in St. Gabriel and in the Catholic School system because we teach kindness.”

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