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High School Really Sorry About 'Trail of Tears' Taunt
Attempt to intimidate rival Alabama high school was dismal failure
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2013 2:07 AM CST
The giant sign.   (CBS 42 screen shot)

(Newser) – 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.")

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Showing 3 of 35 comments
Nov 19, 2013 3:13 PM CST
Y'know, "clueless" seems more apt than "racist" here. By the time you get to high school, don'tcha think you'da learned what the name of your state means and how it got that name. Given that, maybe including the names of racist State actions resulting in the deaths of thousands and suffering of tens of thousands isn't really ALL that clever.
Nov 19, 2013 10:01 AM CST
Lets commend the Principal here. He took full responsibility for the incident. Now a days, everyone just passes the buck on to someone else. As for the Cheerleaders, lets hope they aren't cheering anymore.
Nov 19, 2013 9:43 AM CST
There are some comments on this article that I don't understand. First there are the ones that fall into the "these kids need to learn history" camp. But obviously they know history, otherwise the sign wouldn't have made as much sense. Connecting "Indians" to "Trail of Tears" didn't happen by accident. Then there's the "these kids are racist/these kids are full of hate" comments. I doubt these kids thought they were expressing hatred of Indians when they wrote this sign, nor do they probably feel any hatred towards Indians. This isn't about ignorance, or about hatred, or about racism. It's 100% about the lack of empathy. There are people who read history lessons about slavery, the genocide of Native Americans, the Holocaust, Jim Crow, Japanese internment etc, and they don't think "good, they deserved it". They think "gee, that was awful". But they develop no sense at all about how the survivors of those events (and their descendants) actually feel - not just about the original event, but also about residual effects. It says the kids will be "disciplined", but I'm a bit sorry if they're going to be punished for not knowing something they were never taught. They were taught the history and they learned it. If they had been taught empathy, they probably would have learned that too.