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Parents furious after Catholic high school displays ‘privilege’ banner at football game


‘You smell that privilege?’ Parents are furious after cheerleaders hold up ‘offensive’ banner at football game accusing rival Catholic high schoolers of being rich and ‘privileged’

  • Cheerleaders at Charlotte Catholic High School mocked students at rival Butler with a banner before their football game
  • The banner read ‘SNIFF SNIFF/YOU SMELL THAT? $PRIVILEGE$’ 
  • Parents were outraged, saying it accused all of the students of being rich and white 
  • The school’s principal has apologized and promised to set a meeting between the two schools’ cheerleaders to ‘foster goodwill and understanding’
  • The cheerleaders were set to face consequences for the sign but the school would not specify what those consequences would be 


A North Carolina school is facing backlash after their cheerleading squad unfurled a banner at a football game, which branded the rival school as ‘privileged’.

Butler High School’s cheerleaders held up the banner at the Tuesday’s game against Charlotte Catholic, which read ‘SNIFF SNIFF. YOU SMELL THAT? $PRIVILEGE$.’ 

Parents attending the game on behalf of Charlotte Catholic said they were upset over the banner. 

‘The thing that was so disturbing was it was children,’ said Melissa Swanson, who attended the game with her son. ‘Whether they are high school, elementary school or middle school – they’re children. The administration, the coaches, the athletic director – they had to know it.’ 

She scoffed at the idea that Charlotte Catholic was a ‘rich, white high school’ that has it easy and said she was a single mom working to send her son through school.

When Butler High School in Charlotte’s cheerleaders held up the traditional banner for the team to run through ahead of their game against Charlotte Catholic, the banner read ‘SNIFF SNIFF/YOU SMELL THAT? $PRIVILEGE$’

'The thing that was so disturbing was it was children,' said Melissa Swanson, who attended the game with her son. 'Whether they are high school, elementary school or middle school ¿ they're children. The administration, the coaches, the athletic director ¿ they had to know it.'

‘The thing that was so disturbing was it was children,’ said Melissa Swanson, who attended the game with her son. ‘Whether they are high school, elementary school or middle school – they’re children. The administration, the coaches, the athletic director – they had to know it.’

She scoffed at the idea that Charlotte Catholic was a 'rich, white high school' that has it easy and said she was a single mom working to send her son through school

She scoffed at the idea that Charlotte Catholic was a ‘rich, white high school’ that has it easy and said she was a single mom working to send her son through school

‘That’s not the case by no means,’ Swanson, whose son is biracial, said of the sign’s implication. ‘I am a single mom, and I raise my son on my own. We pay for that school and work hard to be there.’

One parent even wrote a complaint to a local TV station.

‘This was offensive, even racist and in really poor taste,’ one person wrote to WBTV of the banner. ‘I’m shocked that it was allowed. Does CMS really condone this kind of behavior?’ 

The school district promised there would be fallout from the incident but did not say what it would be.  

‘Squad members and adults responsible for oversight will face consequences as a result of that banner display. School and district officials will offer no specific information about this disciplinary matter,’ the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District said in a statement.

'This was offensive, even racist and in really poor taste,' one person wrote to WBTV of the banner. 'I'm shocked that it was allowed. Does CMS really condone this kind of behavior?'

‘This was offensive, even racist and in really poor taste,’ one person wrote to WBTV of the banner. ‘I’m shocked that it was allowed. Does CMS really condone this kind of behavior?’

The banner was, to some parents, Butler students accusing the school of being rich and white

Parents attending the game on behalf of Charlotte Catholic said they were upset over the banner

 Butler High School (left) cheerleaders accused students at Charlotte Catholic High School (right) of being priveleged 

While the cheerleaders are set to be given an unspecified punishment, social media users were suggesting slightly more severe charges

While the cheerleaders are set to be given an unspecified punishment, social media users were suggesting slightly more severe charges

One Twitter user wondered why the adults -- including coaches and teachers -- didn't stop them

One Twitter user wondered why the adults — including coaches and teachers — didn’t stop them

Another wanted to know if Butler High School was teaching critical race theory to its students

Another wanted to know if Butler High School was teaching critical race theory to its students

Officials from Butler also apologized to Charlotte Catholic, while cheerleaders from Butler sent an apology letter to their peers at the private school.

‘Soon there will be a meeting between the schools’ cheerleading squads to facilitate goodwill and understanding,’ the statement said

The Charlotte principal accepted Butler’s apology, noting:  ‘We understand how emotions surrounding sports events can sometimes result in actions that do not represent an organization’s values,’ Principal Kurt Telford said.

‘It is our hope that everyone will learn from such moments because at the end of the day we are all one community.’ 

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