Iowa high school students called racist for wearing U.S. flag colors to basketball game

by WorldTribune Staff, March 13, 2017

A group of students at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa were decried as racists for their actions at a recent basketball game.

Their crime? They wore red, white and blue attire to the game against Des Moines North High School, which has players from refugee families, The College Fix reported.

The patriotic showing was “an example of BLATANT racism,” Ty Leggett, a Valley High School alumni, wrote on the Valley High School Facebook page. “ALL participating should have been pulled and banned from ALL VHS extracurricular events for the remainder of the year! As a parent, I’d be mortified that my son or daughter thought this way, acted in this fashion and refrained from taking a stand against this 21st century inexcusable behavior!”

Erin Ness Carter, a mother living in the school district, remarked that “for the supporters of one team from a primarily white part of town to paint themselves as the ‘team of the USA’ it strongly implies that the other team, the less white team, is less American.”

Some defended the Valley High students.

“Now we can’t wear USA stuff without making someone upset?” asked Melissa Fraas-Bader, a Valley High alum. “Oh please….”

“This country is the United States of America and our country colors are red, white, and blue no matter what color of skin you have or what race you are,” said Mallorie Paige Sander, a current Valley High student. “The intentions to offend anyone by wearing USA themed clothing was nowhere in the thoughts of any of our student body, why would it be? We all live in America.”

The assistant coach of Valley’s opponent, Des Moines North, had different thoughts.

“Any normal person, any educated person can look at that and think what the hell are these kids thinking,” said Morgan Wheat, assistant coach of the Des Moines North basketball team, according to “Kids are kids, I get it, but I do have questions. I want to know why.”

Valley High School student leaders ended up drafting and delivering a letter of apology to the principal of Des Moines North.

“We are deeply sorry if we have offended anyone in any way,” reads the statement, in part. “We have traditionally dressed in such a fashion for great games such as the one last night. Everyone here at Valley has immense respect not only for your team and players but for your community as a whole. Please know that our intent was in no way to offend or demean — just to support our own team in a way we have done before.”