A high school in northern Kentucky has removed banners that depicted some senior members of the football team eating or holding pancakes and, in one instance, climbing a goal post.
The Grant County High School players depicted on the banners are now saying there was no reason for the banners to have been taken down, saying there was nothing inappropriate about the pictures.
“Basically, it’s a football term. When you take someone down, you make a pancake,” Stephani Rankin, the mother of one of the players, told the local Fox affiliate. “Just harmless fun, expressing themselves, they didn’t mean to dishonor or discredit the school in any way, shape or fashion. [The school] told us it was an inappropriate representation of the school. We would like that defined."
A group of four seniors at Grant County High School in Northern Kentucky had their senior banners removed, but some are now wondering why.https://t.co/27KbLMl5Ao— USA TODAY HSS (@usatodayhss) October 30, 2019
Nancy Howe, public information officer for Grant County schools sent the local Fox affiliate the following statement to explain why the banners had been removed:
The decision to remove the four senior banners from the football field has, indeed, created quite a bit of controversy. Examined individually and as simply a photo of a high school football player, I think everyone would agree the photos simply depict young men celebrating their senior season in a good natured, youthful way. In fact, though not everyone understands the context of the “pancake” photos, those in the football world get that it correlates with the desire to perform the duties of their positions well.
These same photos, however, taken collectively, and then displayed with a fourth photo of a player climbing a goal post, as life-size banners on the football field as our “senior”, most mature athletes, sends a completely different message to our next generation, and to our community.
The tradition of displaying senior banners has been to celebrate / honor:
1) the athlete and his/her family for the time and effort expended,
2) the program -- that exists to help develop skills, sportsmanship, and the whole host of positive attributes in our youth, and
3) the school whose uniform they wear.
The officials who directed the removal of the banners simply felt the photos did not positively serve the program, the school, or really even the athlete. They also established a precedent which encourages the next class of seniors to push the limits further.
Our error was in allowing an official, school-based photo shoot to be too vaguely defined – with there not being a clear understanding by the athletes and their parents (who had an option to pay for some of their own shots) what the parameters were for representing the program and the uniform. This has generated a lot of healthy conversation and teachable moments regarding how, and under what circumstances you represent yourself and your school.
“I’m not okay with it. The boys weren’t intending it to be inappropriate. They were just putting a little bit of their personality into it. They weren’t trying to be disrespectful to the Grant County school system at all,” Rankin said.
School officials says they gave all four boys a chance to have a new banner made at no cost to the student. Two of the four players that had their banners removed took advantage of the offer.