MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A homecoming banner hung in the Carolina Forest High School cafeteria is causing a stir on social media and with some parents.
Some say the words use a sensitive event in American history to promote a football rivalry.
The Carolina Forest Panthers take on the Socastee Braves in a homecoming matchup Friday. Ahead of the big event, some CFHS students hung a banner with the game’s date and time, but it’s the message for the Braves that’s causing controversy.
“You know this is completely wrong,” said Ody Perez, whose daughter goes to CFHS. Perez said she is appalled after she saw a photo of the banner being shared on social media.
“We’ll leave you in a trail of tears” is handwritten at the bottom of the banner– referencing the United States’ forced relocation of Native Americans in the 1830s.
“The trail of tears is the genocide of an entire race of people, Native Americans,” Perez told News13. “Removing them from their homelands and taking it from them, that’s not something you use as a theme for your school, for your homecoming.”
Socastee’s mascot is the Braves, which uses Native American imagery in its logo.
“I feel hurt,” Perez said tearfully. “You know I feel hurt because it just shouldn’t happen. It just shouldn’t happen.”
Other parents agree with Perez and took to social media to voice their opposition to the message. One person wrote the sign is “disgusting and hurtful” and another called the series of forced removals an “act of genocide.”
News13 reached out to the school district and the Carolina Forest High School principal, and while they declined to comment on camera they released this official statement:
We regret the banner was created, but the incident was addressed on Saturday and it was removed at that time from the cafeteria. We have also addressed the situation and are confident that the persons responsible for the banner at no time intended for it to be offensive. The student body at Carolina Forest High School (CFHS) is extremely diverse and comes from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Teenagers, as well as adults, act sometimes without first thinking about how their actions may impact others. CFHS is an educational institution and will use this situation as a learning opportunity. At no time would the administration want a student or staff member to feel as if he/she is in an intolerant environment.
Again, we want everyone to know the situation has been addressed and the banner has been removed from the cafeteria. The District welcomes visitors to our schools to experience the learning and working environment that is created each day for our students and staff.
As a follow-up to the district’s statement, News13 asked if any students will face disciplinary action or how exactly the school will use the situation as a “learning experience.”
So far we have not heard back from the district on those questions.