After students were warned not to yell “USA” at sporting events and rallies, a California high school sparked outrage.
Vista Del Lago High School students have a history of shouting “USA” to support their country and athletes, however, school officials decided it was time for the school to put the “USA” chants in the rearview mirror and find another approach to demonstrate patriotism and support during sporting events.
The school advised students to cease chanting “USA” because it could be interpreted as bigoted by certain people. In general, students were perplexed by the demand since they believed themselves to be patriotic and enthusiastic about their American athletes.
Lori Emmington, principal of Vista Del Lago High School, made the statement in an announcement to students and in an email to their families, according to CBS Sacramento.
“We can [sometimes] communicate an unintended message,” Emmington said in her address, adding that the chant would be appropriate after the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem.
“There’s a time and a place to yell that and cheer that,”said Mike Garrison, a commissioner for the California Interscholastic Federation, which supervises high school athletics, in a statement obtained by CBS Sacramento.
Vista Del Lago High School introduced the topic in a leadership class.
“I wasn’t angry, but I was definitely like, ‘Why can’t we chant USA?’” said Ryan Bernal, a student at the school. “To say USA, you know, we’re all the same. We’re all American. It doesn’t matter what your skin tone is or where you’re from.”
“I want to chant USA because I want us to pull together and help, not because I want anybody to feel left out or not a part of our country,” Natalie Woodbury, a mother of one of Vista Del Lago’s students, told CBS Sacramento.
According to the school principal, the “USA” shout is acceptable after the Pledge of Allegiance from the national anthem but not in all cases.
“I want to chant USA because I want us to pull together and help, not because I want anybody to feel left out or not a part of our country,” stated the mother, Natalie Woodbury.
Despite the school’s request that students cease, the school district has confirmed that there is no prohibition on students who wish to chant “USA.”
The school is simply asking students to be more conscious of when and where they utilize the chant.
“The message is, let’s be tolerant of each other,” stated Thigpen. “Let’s think about what we’re saying and how it might make somebody else feel.”