Cheerleaders at a North Carolina high school were placed on probation after posing for a photo with a Trump 2020 election banner.
The squad attends North Stanly High School. The Stanly County Board of Education bans political advertising at school events and does not endorse political issues or candidates.
The decision to put the students on probation was taken by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association after a teacher at the high school posted the photo on social media, where it went viral.
The image was taken at an August football game. The banner was apparently brought to the game by a student and the photograph was taken before the game, according to school officials.
The athletic association "has not defined the terms of the probation" and the team will continue to cheer for the remainder of the football season, the district said in a statement Monday. "The focus of Friday night football games should be on our students — the players, cheerleaders, band members — the focus should not be on politics."
The association said probation "serves as a notice of behavior or action that is against NCHSSA Handbook Policy or contrary to expectations of sportsmanship and proper behavior."
The image has drawn hundreds of comments, with many questioning the decision to place the team on probation. "Since when did patriotism and supporting the President of the United States become a bad thing?" wrote one commentator. "We have some serious issues in this country! I commend these young men and women for their patriotism!"