The cheerleaders at McClain (Greenfield, Ohio) displayed a banner before a game with the Hillsboro (Ohio) Indians referencing the Trail of Tears.
McClain was playing at Hillsboro. The banner says, “Hey Indians, Get Ready for A Trail of TEARS Part 2.”
The Trail of Tears is the name assigned to the forced removal of Native Americans from the southeastern portion of the United States to areas west of the Mississippi River. More than four thousand people died.
According to WHIO, the school posted an apology on its Facebook page late Friday, but then removed it.
The school issued an apology Saturday.
“A horrific mistake was made,” Greenfield-McClain High School said in a statement. “A sign was created out of ignorance, not hate.”
Greenfield-McClain High’s principal, Jason Potts, emailed the apology to two Hillsboro-based newspapers, some 60 miles east of Cincinnati. It pledged that the school would partner with local organizations to further educate students about “atrocities faced by both the Native American and African-American cultures.”
The statement expressed “deepest sympathy” to those of Indian and African-American descent, and “a sincere apology” to the communities, families and students of Hillsboro, Greenfield and elsewhere.
The statement said the school was investigating how “this deplorable situation” happened and will take appropriate action.
Contributing: Associated Press