Education

High School Football Teams Mock Opponents with Offensive 'Trail of Tears' Signs

| by Michael Allen

Tennessee's high school football playoffs are in full gear and steering right into controversy.

The Dyersburg Trojans defeated the Jackson Northside Indians 34-14 last Friday, and to rub it in, Dyersburg students held up a giant "Trail of Tears" sign.

The "Trail Of Tears" refers to when the U.S. government forcibly removed thousands of Native Americans from Oklahoma, which resulted in the deaths of 4,000 Indians.

According to Mother Jones, the Dyersburg coaching staff put up six pictures of the students and the banner on the school's Facebook page.

However, Dyersburg principal Jon Frye claimed he was not aware of the Facebook pics, but would have them taken down.

"I will be leaving here and going to the fieldhouse as soon as you and I are done," Principal Frye told Mother Jones yesterday. True to his word, the pictures came down.

Principal Frye also says he spoke to students on Monday about the offensive banner.

"Largely I tried to draw a parallel between persecuted population groups," said Principal Frye. "You would not take African-Americans and try to draw a parallel to an event in which a lot of African-American people had died."

A similar incident happened last Friday night in McAlla, Al. where McAdory High School played football against Pinson Valley High School, whose mascot is the "Indians."

According to MyFoxAl.com, some McAdory cheerleaders held up a sign that read, "Hey Indians, Get ready to leave in a trail of tears round 2."

McAdory High School Principal Tod Humphries and Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin apologized on Nov. 18 for the sign.

"I think they made a mistake of not checking the sign," said Principal Humphries, who added that the cheerleading coach who usually checks the game signs was on maternity leave.

Dr. Nowlin stated on the school's website that the "cheerleading squad will be disciplined" and students would be educated on the historical facts behind the "Trail of Tears."

Sources: Mother Jones and MyFoxAl.com