HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A high school football game is usually a fun event to look forward to. But what was supposed to be a regular Friday night lights affair for one local high school is gaining a lot of negative attention.
Cheerleaders at Carolina Forest High School have come under fire for putting up a sign for their homecoming game against the Socastee Braves this Friday that some people call offensive.
The sign, which was shared widely on social media, read "We'll leave you in a trail of tears."
The real-life trail of tears the sign refers to when Native Americans were forced to leave their homes and relocate farther west. An estimated 4,000 Cherokee died of disease, exhaustion or starvation.
Some students and parents aren't happy, calling the sign insensitive.
Dozens of people even took their thoughts and concerns to social media which led Lisa Bourcier, the Horry County School Districts spokeswoman to send out this statement.
"We regret the banner was created, but the incident was addressed on Saturday and it was removed at that time from the cafeteria. We have also addressed the situation and are confident that the persons responsible for the banner at no time intended for it to be offensive. The student body at Carolina Forest High School (CFHS) is extremely diverse and comes from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Teenagers, as well as adults, act sometimes without first thinking about how their actions may impact others. CFHS is an educational institution and will use this situation as a learning opportunity. At no time would the administration want a student or staff member to feel as if he/she is in an intolerant environment.
Again, we want everyone to know the situation has been addressed and the banner has been removed from the cafeteria. The District welcomes visitors to our schools to experience the learning and working environment that is created each day for our students and staff," Bourcier said in an emailed statement.
But one person I talked says this situation should have been prevented.
"That specific statement and the weight behind I believe it is sensitive material. With everything going on around nowadays, I believe there should be an approval process for everything like that. I understand the freedom as a student body to be able to create paint and hang the signs themselves, however that stuff shouldn't be overlooked for reasons like this," Michael Lavrick said.
The Carolina Forest High School football team is hoping they'll win their game this Friday night against Socastee, but on social media, the school is already taking a hit.
Some Facebook users say they are shocked and couldn't even believe something like this was allowed to be hung up at the school.
A student named Sage Short put up a post saying "You cannot put something up like this and not expect someone to say something. this is RACIST."
She went on to say that "This IS NOT in ANY way okay. And that there is legit no excuse for this to even be up there with that 'joke' on it."
But some people don't think the sign should be taken so serious.
Megan Carr also posted, saying, "The students at CF create these banners for game day and I am sure they meant no intentions as to offending people, but how far people have taken this and blaming the administration, the principal, and even the school is just flat out ridiculous."
But others insist oversight or an approval process is necessary for any signs going up in schools.
"If there were that in place I believe this would not have been approved. therefore I do not agree with that particular statement that they have used. Whatever happened to just the old schooled ones that say go team go or anything like that? Why take that step especially that particular statement that could be taken very wrong?" Lavrick said.
WMBF News went to Carolina Forest High school to talk to the school's principal to see if there is an approval process before signs are put up in and around the school, and if anything will change now, but did not receive a comment.