DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — A former Daphne High School cheerleader and her mother are speaking out following a controversial photo of her old teammates posing with a T-shirt with an image of the Confederate flag.
A picture of some Daphne High School cheerleaders posing with a T-shirt that reads “I love redneck boys” with the Confederate flag designed into the shape of a heart, is what Reagan Coleman and her mother Latitiah said reminds them of a dark time in American history.
“I immediately see hate,” Reagan Coleman said.
“There’s no two sides to that flag. That means hatred, That’s what it stands for for us. We were oppressed with that flag. They used it when they burned crosses in our ancestors’ yards. When it was railed around on horses. I don’t know what history you’re reading, but if you read the U.S. history, it tells you exactly what that flag stands for and what it means, especially to African-Americans,” said mother Latitah Coleman.
The photo, first posted on Instagram by one of the girls, was immediately taken down after an onslaught of negative comments.
Latitiah said she spoke with school administrators about the situation.
“I went from the coach to the principal, from the principal to the superintendent. And I kept getting vague answers. It was almost like everybody was reading a script,” she said.
About two weeks later, they said everyone showed up for the first day of practice as if nothing happened.
That’s when Reagan said she immediately quit the team.
“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,” Reagan said.
As only one of two black cheerleaders on the team, Reagan said this isn’t the first instance of racism.
An Instagram video recently resurfaced of a Daphne cheerleader dropping the N-word during basketball season.
There’s also a screenshot of a cheerleader calling a classmate the N-word in a Snapchat message.
Baldwin County Public Schools released this statement:
“We are aware of the situation and it has been handled at the local school level. As with any student issue, federal law prohibits us from discussing disciplinary actions, if any, involving our students.
Our system has implemented sensitivity programs and Superintendent Tyler has stressed that we have a zero tolerance for racism and bullying in our system. “
However, Reagan says with no apology from the girls involved or their parents and their spots on the team still intact, shows that the school district didn’t go far enough.
A petition calling for the girls’ removal from the team has nearly one thousand signatures.
“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 administrations like these,” Reagan said.
WKRG News 5 reached out to some of the parents of the girls in the picture and did not hear back.
However, one mother is publicly voicing support on Facebook of her daughter posing with the shirt.
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