A parent is freaking out over a photo showing Omaha, Nebraska, public school students painted red, white, and blue, with the words “world war” spelled out on their chests — and one of them holding a flag supporting President Donald Trump, WOWT-TV reported.
“I think it was intimidating. I think it was threatening. I think it was racist,” parent Erik Christensen told the station regarding the online photo of students who attended an Elkhorn South High School football game recently. “I felt like it was kind of soaked in white supremacy.”
Christensen added to WOWT that he was angry and concerned for his stepdaughter.
“I literally had to get up this morning, and I had to wonder if she was going to be OK when she went to school because this was the kind of environment that she was living in — one of very few black students or minority students at Elkhorn at all,” he noted to the station.
The principal clears the air
Principal Mark Kalvoda told WOWT the photo in question was a partial image; the full image shows more students spelling out “2X World War Champs” as part of a “USA Out” theme for the game during which students were supposed to show their patriotism.
In regard to the “Make America Great Again” flag supporting Trump, Kalvoda told the station political speech is protected.
Parent fires back
“Can I take a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign to the football game?” Christensen asked WOWT. “And can I do it in the front row of the football game?”
He also told the station that the school should be asking how the other students perceived the act: “How did black students respond to it? How did minority students respond to it? How did other students that are white respond to it?”
Kalvoda told WOWT he spoke with students of color and their families on the Monday following the game and that the school is still looking into the whole thing.
The Nebraska School Activities Association said it does not have specific language in its guidelines that addresses political signs at games, the station said.
Another school in the Elkhorn City Schools district — Manchester Elementary — made a few headlines of its own in recent years.
Manchester’s principal was placed on leave in December 2018 after banning Christmas-related items — even candy canes, as their “J” shape stands “for Jesus,” she wrote in a memo to staff. The principal stepped down in January 2019.
Also last year, fifth graders at Manchester voted to place words in the shape of a cross on the school’s yearbook cover — and it got printed, which caused all sorts of hand-wringing and calls for a reprint.
Ironically, the principal who resigned normally would have approved the cover, but since she was on leave, that threw a wrench in the usual process.
Author: Dave Urbanski