Students at a rural Minnesota high school are under fire after they displayed a Trump 2020 flag during a basketball game against a predominately black basketball team in an apparent taunt against the opposing players.
The incident took place this week in the Jordan school district, where students at the rural school hosted the inner city Roosevelt High School in a basketball game. As the Star-Tribune reported, the coach of the visiting team posted a picture of students holding the flag on Facebook and insinuated that it was an attempt to intimidate his black players.
“I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team,” Walker wrote. “We go out to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there. Please explain how and why this is appropriate at a high school basketball game?”
But some of the Jordan fans disputed his assertion. One mother, Bridget Kahn, said that students had planned a USA blackout night, with the entire student body wearing red, white, and blue clothes for the game. She noted that some students decided to show their support of Donald Trump at the game, though district officials said there is a policy “to not allow political advertising” at games.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that Roosevelt’s basketball players remain in the locker room during the national anthem, a quiet protest that players have carried out all season. Later in the week, a Twitter account connected to the Jordan High School Student Section posted and then deleted a tweet mocking the story and the controversy.
I coach a predominantly black inner city team. We go to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there. Please explain how & why this is appropriate at a high school basketball game?#coach #basketball #sports #blackcounselor #king #knowledgeisking #blackboysmatter #blackandproud pic.twitter.com/0ne9Y7ors6
— Critical Questioning (@CQ_Consulting17) January 16, 2019
A lot of people are pretending not to understand what the message being sent here was. The @jhsthemes (Jordan High School Student Section) account just deleted this mocking tweet in response to the @StarTribune's tweet about this story. pic.twitter.com/Kp8NJqEEOA
— Matt DeLong (@mattdelong) January 16, 2019
The incident in Jordan took place just days after another controversial incident from a different Minnesota high school. As NBC News reported, students at Minnetonka High School sparked backlash after posting a video giving Nazi salutes. The video was meant to serve as a proposal to the school’s Valentine’s Day dance, showing two students making reference to Adolph Hitler while giving the straight-arm salute.
At that district, officials apologized and leaders of the Jewish community expressed concern about the safety of the learning environment, especially for Jewish students.
Jordan school district superintendent Matt Helgerson released a statement saying he is looking into the incident at this week’s basketball game. He also said the school district feels “regret that Roosevelt players and their coaching staff, fans and community were made to feel uncomfortable, as it is always our intent to graciously host our opponents.”