Students from an Iowa high school apologized for their student fan base’s decision to wear red white and blue at a basketball game against a rival school.
When students from Valley High School in Des Moines, Iowa dressed up in the colors of the American flag as opposed to their school colors, many people were offended because the school’s rival basketball team, Des Moines North, has a number of players that come from refugee families.
Some Facebook users on social media said they heard chants of “deport them,” while others denied that it happened.
Valley High School responded to the accusations, stating that “administrators and teachers did not hear nor have evidence during the game of this occurring. If we had been aware of it, we would have taken immediate action to stop it. Now having received reports, we are investigating and disciplinary action will be taken for evidence found.”
“Any normal person, any educated person can look at that and think, ‘What the hell are these kids thinking?’” Morgan Wheat, a Des Moines North assistant coach, told WHO-TV. “Kids are kids, I get it, but I do have questions. I want to know why.”
“A lot of people were very upset about it,” North sophomore DeNasja Spencer told KCCI. “Even if that was their theme for the game, I feel like they should have switched that because everyone knows North is a more diverse school.”
North’s starting point guard Tyreke Locure told KCCI he wasn’t aware of what happened until after the game ended.
“Everybody on the North side had on North shirts, and to be dressed in American flags, that was just different for us,” Locure said. “Everybody from the Des Moines area [was] just tweeting crazy, and I can say I fell into the trap just because I was frustrated we lost.”
Students at Valley High School said the attire was not meant to be offensive as they had worn American flag colors to previous games.
Valley High School’s Student Leadership members delivered a letter to the school’s principal to apologize, WHO-TV reported:
To the Students and Staff of North High School:
It has been brought to our attention that the decision by the Valley High School student section to wear U.S.A. apparel at our game last night was offensive to members of your community and fan base. We are deeply sorry if we have offended anyone in any way. We have traditionally dressed in such a fashion for great games such as the one last night. Everyone here at Valley has immense respect not only for your team and players but for your community as a whole. Please know that our intent was in no way to offend or demean—just to support our own team in a way we have done before.
Congratulations on a wonderful season and we wish you nothing but the best of luck in the future.
Valley High School Student Council Leadership
Valley High School fans reiterated that wearing American flag colors for sporting events was nothing new.
“We had a USA theme, which we’ve done many times in the past,” Valley freshman Dayna Dunnwald told KCCI. “It’s really sad, and I hope everyone can resolve it in the end because no one at Valley meant it in that way. And it was just for fun.”