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‘Trump Perry’ sign prompts apology to Pittsburgh high school

Megan Guza
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The student section at Brooke County (W.Va.) High School poses for a photo before a football game against Pittsburgh Perry High School on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

The superintendent of the Brooke County, W.Va., school district apologized to the Pittsburgh Perry High School community on Monday for what she called an “insensitive, intimidating and offensive sign” that was displayed during a football game Friday in her high school’s student section.

The “Trump Perry” banner “does not reflect our true beliefs nor what we want to teach our children,” Superintendent Toni A. Paesano Schute wrote in a letter to Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet.

A photo of the banner began circulating Saturday morning after it was posted to Twitter by Perry librarian Sheila May-Stein.

“Policies were not followed by school administrators to ensure a climate free from bullying and harassment, and as a result people were offended in our home,” Schute wrote. “We have a moral obligation to teach our children, and we will make this a teachable moment to instill the core values of respect and dignity for all.”

Hamlet said in a statement that he’d spoken with Brooke County administrators. He said that by all accounts, the rest of Friday’s game went smoothly with good sportsmanship all around. Brooke County won, 34-20.

“Since the presidential campaign, superintendents across the country have found themselves apologizing for the use of (Trump’s) name to taunt minority students,” Hamlet said.

A Twitter account originally linked to the football team that was later updated to clarify that it is student-run and represents the school’s student section explained the theme for Friday’s game was red, white and blue.

Shute noted in her letter that the Twitter account, originally run under the name “BHSFootball 2018” is not school-sanctioned. It’s now called “Student section 2018.”

She asked for forgiveness from the Perry community.

“It is our hope that we may move forward together united in our beliefs that there is no place in our world for hatred,” she wrote.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter at @meganguzaTrib.

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