Racial Controversy over Friday Night Football Banner


Perry High School librarian tweeted after she saw the image of the Brooke High School student section with the Trump Perry banner. Brooke High School defeated Perry 34-20 and no altercations occurred because of the sign.

Zach Combest, Website Editor

I believe that we have “Trump(ed)  Perry.”

Brooke High School in West Virginia is the latest battleground in a racial controversy surrounding President Donald Trump.

Brooke High School, a mostly-white school, played Perry High School, a mostly black school, in a football game on Sept. 22. The theme for the game at Brooke was American Patriotic night. Some students made a banner for their student section that raised many questions and ignited a racial controversy.

The political division has spread to new heights and now are impacting Friday night lights. Perry High School is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and 75 percent of their student body is black while 95 percent of Brooke’s student body is white. As every high school around America does on fall Friday nights, they prepared to cheer on their team. Some Brooke student leaders of the student section made a banner that said, “Trump Perry.” The students said it was a pun and a play on words because the President’s last name and trump also means beat and dominate.

This didn’t go over well with the Perry fans, teachers and students. Perry’s librarian Sheila May-Stein tweeted, “My mostly black, inner-city school played this team last night and were confronted with this sickening racism.” Later, Brooke’s superintendent, Toni A. Paesano Shute, released a statement that in part said, “I apologize for the insensitive, intimidating and offensive sign.” She continued by saying, “policies were not followed by school administrators to ensure a climate free from bullying and harassment.”

After the statement, many Brooke School district parents were calling for Shute’s termination and teachers wore red, white and blue in support of their students who said they had no mean of racist intentions. Students at Brooke had no communication with Shute before the statement was released and many students were outraged with the superintendent calling them bullies and harassing the players.

Senior Lexie Fisher is the student section leader at East. “As the redzone leader I could see where that could cause controversy, but it’s just how student sections are in the end.  I personally wouldn’t have the thought to do something like that. Our school wouldn’t let that get passed either. It’s just kind of how student sections are. They taunt their opponents. They aren’t there to physically be mean, but to get into their opponents heads. It’s just unfortunate that everyone takes everything to offense because back then student sections were just something fun students got involved in,” said Fisher.

The student body at Brooke didn’t know the Perry demographics according to Brooke’s Student Council President Ashley Eby in an interview on CNN. Eby continued by saying they would have had the sign no matter who their opponent was and the banner was just a play on words.

There was no harassment on the football field between players and according to Eby, the Perry fans and players were welcomed like all the other teams they played this season. Since the outrage from people around the country, students at Brooke haven’t made a banner or signs for home football games and school spirit has dropped.

Brooke won the game, 34-20.