Black cheerleader quits after squad poses with Confederate flag shirt
Six white Alabama high school cheerleaders posed with a Confederate flag T-shirt extolling their love for “redneck boys,” prompting a black teammate to quit, according to a report.
Reagan Coleman, who had been one of two black cheerleaders at Daphne High School, quit the team on the first day of practice after school administrators and coaches failed to address the July 4 photo, the teen and her mother told WKRG.
“No matter how much I love something, no matter how passionate I am about something, I love myself more and I respect myself more and I could not be on that team,” Coleman told the station.
The photo — which shows six white cheerleaders standing in front of a T-shirt depicting the Confederate battle flag inside a heart and reads “I love Redneck Boys” — led to “no consequences” for the girls, according to an online petition created by Coleman calling for them to be reprimanded.
“They have faced remotely no consequences and are still on Daphne’s Cheer Team,” reads the petition, which had been signed by more than 2,200 people as of Friday. “I have since quit the team due to their carelessness and inactivity. I am not trying to ignite hate on these girls, I just simply want everyone to see what Daphne High School allows.”
Coleman’s mother, Latitiah, said she got an unclear response from school administrators when she contacted them to address the photo.
“I went from the coach to the principal, from the principal to the superintendent,” she told WKRG. “And I kept getting vague answers. It was almost like everybody was reading a script.”
Some two weeks after the photo was posted, Coleman quit the team when she showed up for the first day of practice. She said the school needs to take action as support for her petition calling for her teammates to be disciplined over the photo grows.
“I feel like we’re at a time where black voices are being heard,” she told WKRG. “We’re being felt, we’re being seen. So I knew this couldn’t go unheard about. I knew I needed to share this story not for me or how I felt about the picture, but because of the other black children that may be silenced by white administrators like these.”
Baldwin County Public Schools, meanwhile, said in a statement that the matter was “handled at the local school level,” without elaborating on any possible penalties for the cheerleaders, citing privacy laws.
“As with any student issue, federal law prohibits us from discussing disciplinary actions, if any, involving our students,” the statement read. “Our system has implemented sensitivity programs and Superintendent [Eddie] Tyler has stressed that we have zero tolerance for racism and bullying in our system.”
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