A Black Alabama cheerleader has quit her squad after seeing her teammates pose with a shirt featuring a confederate flag.
“I love Redneck Boys” is what is written on a shirt that six white Daphne High School cheerleaders posed with and are now being criticized for it. One of the two Black cheerleaders on the squad, #ReaganColeman, ended up quitting the team on the first day of practice after school administrators and coaches didn’t address the photo, which was taken on July 4, The New York Post reports.
“No matter how much I love something, no matter how passionate I am about something, I love myself more and I respect myself more and I could not be on that team,” Coleman told WKRG. “No matter how much I love something, no matter how passionate I am about something, I love myself more and I respect myself more and I could not be on that team,” Coleman told the station.
In the photo, the girls are standing in a line turned to the side with one of the cheerleaders in the middle holding up the shirt. The shirt includes a heart-shaped confederate flag with the sentence, “I love Redneck Boys.” Coleman ended up creating a petition and mentioned that none of the girls have faced any “consequences.” More than 2,200 people have signed it as of Friday, the outlet reports. “They have faced remotely no consequences and are still on Daphne’s Cheer Team,” reads the petition. “I have since quit the team due to their carelessness and inactivity. I am not trying to ignite hate on these girls, I just simply want everyone to see what Daphne High School allows.”
Coleman’s mother, Latitiah, said she has yet to receive a response from school administrators when she reached out to them about the photo. “I went from the coach to the principal, from the principal to the superintendent,” she told WKRG. “And I kept getting vague answers. It was almost like everybody was reading a script.” Coleman says it’s the school’s responsibility to make a change and support Black students. “I feel like we’re at a time where black voices are being heard. We’re being felt, we’re being seen. So I knew this couldn’t go unheard about. I knew I needed to share this story not for me or how I felt about the picture, but because of the other black children that may be silenced by white administrators like these,” she said.
Baldwin County Public Schools said in a statement that the situation was “handled at the local school level” but didn’t share if the cheerleaders would be punished. “As with any student issue, federal law prohibits us from discussing disciplinary actions, if any, involving our students,” the statement read. “Our system has implemented sensitivity programs and Superintendent [Eddie] Tyler has stressed that we have zero tolerance for racism and bullying in our system.”