School district apologizes for "Trail of Tears" sign at football game

McAdory High School sign at Nov. 15 football game

The McAdory High School{}cheerleading squad is facing disciplinary action after{}a sign referencing the "Trail of Tears"{}was displayed during Friday night's football game against Pinson Valley High School.

The sign read: "Hey Indians, get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears Round 2."

Below is a news release from the district:

Official Message from the Superintendent and the Jefferson County Board of Education

We are disappointed that an offensive sign was displayed at McAdory High School on November 15 during a football game. It was insensitive to our Native Americans and we apologize to them. The principal has published a letter of apology for the McAdory High School. It is posted on the school website which is A copy of that letter is below:

On 11/15/2013 at a football game at McAdory High School, a sign was displayed that made reference to the "Trail of Tears" in which Native Americans were subjected to horrific atrocities. This was not condoned by the school administration, the Jefferson County Board of Education or the community. The person who would normally be responsible for approving such signs is out on maternity leave, and I take full responsibility that arrangements were not made to have the signs pre-approved before the ballgame. Please accept our sincere apologies to the Native American people and to anyone who was offended by the reference to an event that is a stain on our Nation's past forever.


Tod Humphries{}

The cheerleading squad will be disciplined. The sponsor of the Cheerleaders was on maternity leave and the sign was not approved in advance by the school administration.

The principal is asking all social studies teachers to teach each grade a lesson about the real Trail of Tears. We can use this unfortunate event as an important teachable moment. We apologize to all Native Americans and to any person who was offended. Our curriculum department will ensure that all students in the future will have a lesson on the Trail of Tears.


Dr. Stephen Nowlin

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