“Sniff, Sniff. You smell that? $Privilege$,” said a banner held by cheerleaders from Butler High School on Friday near Charlotte, WBTV reported. The school’s football team ran through the banner before the start of the game.
Butler was playing against Charlotte Catholic High School, and parents described being outraged that the sign implied their children were privileged.
“The thing that was so disturbing was it was children,” Melissa Swanson, a parent who attended the football game with her son, told WBTV. “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 said the sign portrays the Catholic school as a “rich, white high school.”
“That’s not the case by no means,” Swanson, whose son is biracial, said of the sign’s implication. “I am a single mom, and I raise my son on my own. We pay for that school and work hard to be there.”
Other parents voiced outrage on social media, demanding the Charlotte Mecklenburg School district take action, WSOC reported.
“This was offensive, even racist and in really poor taste,” one person wrote to WBTV of the banner. “I’m shocked that it was allowed. Does CMS really condone this kind of behavior?”
“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,” the school district said in a statement to the media.
Officials from Butler also apologized to Charlotte Catholic, while cheerleaders from Butler sent an apology letter to their peers at the Catholic school.
“We understand how emotions surrounding sports events can sometimes result in actions that do not represent an organization’s values,” Principal Kurt Telford of Charlotte Catholic High School wrote in a statement. “It is our hope that everyone will learn from such moments because at the end of the day we are all one community.”