Stanly County Schools releases new policy for signs at sporting events

Policy follows controversy over Trump flag

A copy of a letter from Dr. Jeff James, Stanly County Schools Superintendent, on new policy regarding athletic events and signs.

ALBEMARLE — In the wake of national attention brought onto the North Stanly High School cheerleaders who were put on probation for holding a “Trump 2020” sign at a football game, Stanly County Schools has released new policy directions on signs at athletic events.

Neither the school nor the district punished the cheerleaders for taking pictures with the flag on a patriotic-themed night, but the North Carolina High School Athletic Association later levied a season-long probation on those involved. This probation did not affect the girls ability to participate in events, only serving as a notice not to repeat the behavior, but many, including U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson, spoke out against the decision.

The policy release notes a few banned items at athletic events, saying:

“No Tobacco, e-cigarettes, or Alcohol

No Firearms or Weapons

No Signs or Banners except those with school mascot/logo and no larger than 12”x12”

No Large Backpacks

No Outside Food or Beverage”

The directive also states to those at the events that, “In order to ensure all spectators can view and enjoy athletic events at Stanly County Schools and to keep the focus of these events on our students, signs or banners will not be allowed in the stadium except those with a school mascot or logo.”

Students and other spectators at the events can express any message on clothing, “so long as any message on the clothing is not vulgar or lewd and does not otherwise threaten or create a significant disruption.”

Citing the “potential to obstruct the view of spectators and disrupt the event,” signs and banners will not be allowed in the stadiums.

The new policy directive ends by noting, “Friday night football should be a celebration of our students – our players, cheerleaders, band members and spectators.  Please help keep the focus on our students by following all policies and rules at the event.”