ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene ISD is apologizing for an “extremely insensitive” banner displayed at Cooper High School’s morning pep rally that some community members are calling “racist”.
Friday morning, a banner that had “Trump ‘Em Coogs” printed on an American flag background was displayed at the pep rally for Cooper’s game against El Paso Del Valle High School.
Pep rally attendees say the theme of the pep rally was patriotic.
A man claiming he was the one who made the banner reached out to KTAB/KRBC. He said he was creating something to go with the patriotic theme of the pep rally.
Pictures began circulating around social media soon after the pep rally, drawing criticism from some community members who believe the banner was offensive.
“This is racist. . .just bc we[‘re] playing an El Paso team. They didn’t need to do that. Argue with me if you want to, there was no need to put that sign up,” one social media user explains.
Others believe it is disrespectful due to the recent mass shooting in El Paso, but many social media users think the message was made all in good fun.
One user says, “kids will be kids. . . let them have a competitive game!”
Most people, regardless of how they feel about the message, seem to agree that the flag shouldn’t have been used in the banner at all.
“The words I could care less about, but don’t disrespect the American flag,” another social media user says.
Abilene ISD officials say this message, “has no place in our society and certainly none in our school district or on the Cooper campus.”
They apologize for the banner, saying, “we know that the El Paso Community has suffered tremendous loss in recent months and we apologize for any further pain or grief that this sign has caused for them. “
KTAB and KRBC are working to get information on if the banner was approved and if the students who made it will be facing disiplinary action.
Abilene ISD said Cooper’s principal reached out to Del Valle’s principal:
Cooper principal Lyndsey Williamson has spoken to the Del Valle principal and issued a sincere apology and that conversation went well. Additionally, some face to face action will occur tonight before the game between CHS, AISD and Del Valle administrators. I can’t comment on employee discipline, but we take these types of situations very seriously.
Abilene ISD’s full statement on the banner can be found below:
Friday morning at the pep rally for Cooper High School’s football playoff games tonight against El Paso Del Valle High School, an extremely insensitive banner was displayed in the gym and for that the Abilene Independent School District and Cooper High School offers a sincere apology to Del Valle high School, its team, students, parents and the El Paso community at large.
AISD wants to be clear that this banner and its message are completely unacceptable to the district and Cooper High School. This type of sentiment has no place in our society and certainly none in our school district or on the Cooper campus.
We know that the El Paso Community has suffered tremendous loss in recent months and we apologize for any further pain or grief that this sign has caused for them. We want to assure Del Valle High School, its players and fans who will be in Abilene tonight for the playoff game will be welcomed warmly and and enjoy their time in our city.
BigCountryHomepage will update this article once additional information is released.