Students and administrators at a Dallas, TX-area high school are facing tough questions this week, after a recent Donald Trump themed pep-rally was criticized for alleged racism and not-so-alleged poor taste.
Colleyville Heritage High School's "Make Colleyville Great Again" assembly was intended to drum up support for the Colleyville Panthers, ahead of a football game against rival Trinity High School's Trojans. Unfortunately, someone decided to bring a painted banner depicting a brick wall with the words "paid for by Trinity" to the event.
A photograph of the sign—an obvious reference to Donald Trump's proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico—was posted on Twitter by a Colleyville student, who wrote "Colleyville is going to TRUMP Trinity tonight." That student also posted a picture of a large banner declaring Trinity would be "Trumped" by the Panthers.
The "Trump" theme continued into that evening's game itself.
Over email, Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District communications director Rick Hadley explained to me that while school administrators had approved the pep-galley's student leader-suggested theme, "signage has not been subject to review."
"Going forward," Hadley added, "pep rally signs will require admin approval before being displayed." Hadley also told me that he was unaware of any objection to the signs as they were being made, or during the rally.
While the signs themselves might simply be an indicator of poor taste, the demographics of rival Trinity have some alleging that the Colleyville message crossed over from unfunny to potentially racist. As the Houston Chronicle pointed out, Trinity has been ranked among the most diverse public schools in Texas. According to U.S. News and World Report, the school's student body is 25% Hispanic, and has 61% total minority enrollment, as of the 2013-2014 school year.
Colleyville's rally comes amidst a climate of increased racism and bigotry among students across America, dubbed "The Trump Effect," after the antics of the Republican presidential nominee. Similar Trump-ish incidents have already occurred at a high school in North Carolina, and around a frat house in New Orleans.
On Twitter, Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner, who himself played for Trinity's basketball team as a teen, offered encouragement for his alma mater ahead of their game.
Whether motivated by Colleyville's Trumpish antics, Turner's words of support, superior training, or some combination of the three, Trinity went on to defeat Colleyville, 35-21.