A central Alabama high school's principal yesterday explained that the person tasked with approving all football banners is out on maternity leave. And so this is what happened at McAdory High School in McCalla on Friday in her absence: The cheerleading squad made a massive "bust-thru" sign designed to taunt their second-round state playoff opponents, Pinson Valley High, and its mascot, which read: "Hey Indians, Get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears Round 2." Yes, that is indeed a reference to the forcible and deadly removal of Native Americans from the Southeast, and no, it hasn't gone over well.
In a formal apology posted online, principal Tod Humphries takes "full responsibility that arrangements were not made to have the signs pre-approved before the ballgame" and notes that all social studies and history classes will get a lesson on "Native American displacement following the Indian Removal Act of 1830." The Jefferson County superintendent noted that the cheerleading squad would be "disciplined," without elaboration. A board member with the Society of American Indian Government Employees tells WBRC the timing is significant: "Being Native American (Heritage) Month, this actually has more of an impact. It shows racism does still exist." (In more offensive high school news, meet Coachella Valley High's mascot: the "Arab.")