The Warrensburg School District has apologized after one of its students displayed a Donald Trump sign during player introductions for the Center High School boys basketball team on Monday night.
The Center varsity roster has 13 players, all of whom are either black or biracial, according to coach LeDale Wooten.
Toniaa Lakylia Nunn, a former Center student, posted video of the pregame at Warrensburg High School on her Facebook page Monday evening.
In the video, the majority of the Warrensburg student section turned its backs to the court as the Center players were being introduced. One student held up a blue Donald Trump and Mike Pence campaign sign. The students were dressed as farmers as part of a theme night.
“My focus was on the basketball game and my guys. I didn’t notice anything,” Wooten said. “Our focus is on basketball and basketball only. Everything else is irrelevant.”
The Facebook post had nearly 4,000 shares as of Tuesday afternoon. Nunn wrote, “I’m appalled by the nonsense I’ve just witnessed with my own two eyes.”
The Warrensburg School District issued a written apology on its social media accounts, calling the behavior “inappropriate and insensitive toward our opponents.”
In an interview with The Star, Warrensburg superintendent Scott Patrick said the student section turning its backs during opposing teams’ introductions has been a long-standing tradition, though he referred to it as unsportsmanlike and something the administration does not condone.
Patrick said the school was not notified of any complaints during the game.
“I think in this case, (the Trump sign) was really the difference in what took this from something that was unsportsmanlike to something that was insensitive, not necessary and inappropriate,” Patrick said.
Center School District public relations director Kelly Wachel said she had spoken to the basketball players and they told her that they were unaware of it during the game.
“We have talked with our students, and we will continue to listen to them and their families,” Wachel said in a release. “Despite the events that have transpired, Center High School has continued to focus on an academic environment of learning and course work today.”