‘Just shocked’: Butler HS cheerleaders display ‘privilege’ banner at football game

CHARLOTTE — Dozens of local parents have contacted Channel 9, outraged over a banner that was displayed at a high school football game.

On Friday, Charlotte Catholic squared off against Butler High School. During the game, Butler’s cheerleaders held up a sign that read, “Sniff, sniff. You smell that? $Privilege$,” with the word privilege painted in white.

“I was really just shocked. My first reaction with other parents was ‘Wow,’” Melissa Swanson told Channel 9. “It was disappointing, and I was completely just taken way off-guard that that was allowed. ‘Here we are at this school with a bunch of rich white kids that have it easy’ is how I interpreted it.”

Swanson said she is a single parent and her biracial son attends St. Gabriel Catholic School. She said the sign’s message is far from her truth.

“I’m a single mother and I finance my son’s education single-handedly with just my own hard work. It’s not parent money, it’s not anybody else’s money but my own,” Swanson said.

Other parents who were upset about the sign took to social media over the weekend, demanding that the school district do something about it. In a statement emailed to Channel 9, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said:

“CMS is aware of an insensitive banner displayed by the Butler HS cheerleading squad prior to the school’s football game versus Charlotte Catholic last Friday.

Squad members and adults responsible for oversight will face consequences as a result of that banner display. School and district officials will offer no specific information about this disciplinary matter.

Principal Golden and Learning Community Superintendent Tangela Williams have spoken with leaders from Charlotte Catholic to offer verbal apologies.

Butler High School cheerleaders have sent an apology letter to counterparts at Charlotte Catholic.

Soon there will be a meeting between the schools’ cheerleading squads to facilitate goodwill and understanding.”

A parent of a Butler student told Channel 9 he stands by the students who created the sign.

“It’s reality. I mean you can get upset as a parent, but kids, they have a mind of their own and they see things as what they are,” Alford Terry said. “We have to listen to what they have to say.”

Charlotte Catholic principal Kurt Telford sent the following statement to Channel 9:

“We appreciate the outreach we’ve received from the Butler High School community and are confident our good relationship with them will continue. We understand how emotions surrounding sports events can sometimes result in actions that do not represent an organization’s values. It is our hope that everyone will learn from such moments because at the end of the day we are all one community.”

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