A photo taken during an Elkhorn South football game shows students spelling out “World War" with letters painted on their chests. They can also be seen holding a Donald Trump campaign sign.
“I think it was intimidating. I think it was threatening. I think it was racist. I felt like it was kind of soaked in white supremacy," said Erik Christensen, a parent of another student in the school.
He stated that he became angry when he first saw the picture, and then grew concerned for his stepdaughter.
He added that he had held several conversations with school officials.
“I literally had to get up this morning, and I had to wonder if she was going to be okay 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 said.
In a conversation with 6 News, the principal of the high school, Mark Kalvoda, stated that the picture was taken out of context and did not tell the full story.
He stated that the theme of the game was “USA Out” and that students were supposed to show their patriotism.
There were more students included in the group, and Kalvoda said that the students actually spelled out “2X World War Champs,” celebrating the US winning two world wars.
He maintained that the “Make America Great Again” sign was protected political speech.
However, Christensen wasn’t so sure.
“Can I take a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign to the football game? And can I do it in the front row of the football game?" he asked.
He added that despite the students’ intention the school needs to understand how the display may have been perceived by others.
“How did black students respond to it? How did minority students respond to it? How did other students that are white respond to it?" Christensen asked.
Kalvoda stated that he had spoken with students of color and their families on the Monday following the incident, and that the school had an ongoing investigation into the incident.
The Nebraska School Activities Association stated that it does not have specific language in their guidelines addressing political signs at games.
Sources: America Now