‘As leaders, we should be encouraging America’s youth to participate in our democracy and political process—not punishing and silencing them…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, blasted a North Carolina high school for putting its cheerleading squad on probation after some posed with a pro-Trump banner at a football game.
Probation is an “unfair punishment,” Hudson said, adding that he is “appalled these students are being punished for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.”
.@RepRichHudson is calling @NCHSAA decision to place North Stanly High School cheerleaders on probation, “unfair punishment.” Members of the squad posed with a Trump 2020 re-election banner at a football game last month: https://t.co/HnYxF6IjF9 @ABC11_WTVD #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/QCIv1iozJF
— Andrea Blanford (@AndreaABC11) September 17, 2019
The North Stanly High School cheerleaders posed in front of a “Trump 2020: Make America Great Again” flag before a football game. The picture circulated social media and reportedly made a few adults feel “uncomfortable.” As a result, the school put the entire team on probation.
“As leaders, we should be encouraging America’s youth to participate in our democracy and political process—not punishing and silencing them,” Hudson said in a letter to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association commissioner.
“These North Stanly students respectfully displayed a sign and took a picture,” he wrote. “They did not cause a scene, participate in a protest for break any school code of conduct.”
The association’s commissioner, Que Tucker, says all North Carolina high schools are prohibited from promoting political messages to maintain a healthy competitive environment.
“One of the rules we have is that every contest should be conducted in a wholesome, athletic environment,” Tucker told The Stanly News & Press. “We take that to mean that it’s in an environment where good sportsmanship is shown, where people feel safe … that respect for all people participating is being shown.”
Hudson told ABC11 that he decided to get involved because someone needs to stand up for these students if the school won’t.
“I think they have a free speech right to do it whether it’s an Obama banner, whether it’s one of my opponents,” Hudson said. “They have a First Amendment right to express their political views and I think it was completely appropriate.”