Parents of NKY high school football players upset after banners taken down

Parents of NKY high school football players upset after banners taken down

GRANT COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Some parents want to know why school officials took down banners of senior football players at Grant County High School.

The players posed for the banners while they were holding or eating pancakes.

“Basically, it’s a football term. When you take someone down, you make a pancake,” mom Stephani Rankin said.

Rankin’s son Garrett had his banner taken down.

“Just harmless fun, expressing themselves, they didn’t mean to dishonor or discredit the school in any way, shape or fashion,” Rankin said. “They told us it was an inappropriate representation of the school. We would like that defined."

Nancy Howe, Public Information Officer for Grant County schools sent FOX 19 the following statement:

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.

She says she would like her son’s banner to be back up in time for his last game on Friday.

School officials say they gave all four players the chance to have a new banner made at no cost to the student. Two took advantage of the officer and two did not.

The four banners will be given to the students once the football season ends, officials say.

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