Administrators at a California school are warning students not to chant "USA!" because doing so could be viewed as offensive and intolerant.
Officials at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom, not far from Sacramento, say the chant is divisive and inappropriate at sporting events.
Said Folsom Cordova Unified Communications Director Daniel Thigpen: “To practice empathy, to practice kindness and to practice patriotism. You can do both.”
The California Interscholastic Federation, which oversees high school athletics, addressed the concerns with local districts, according to CBS 13.
“There’s a time and a place to yell that and cheer that," CIF Commissioner Mike Garrison told the station.
The school’s principal sent out an email to families, Wednesday and relayed the same message to students over the school’s PA system, clarifying any confusion.
She told students and parents that sometimes “We can communicate an unintended message.” She also said USA chanting is welcome, but it may be best to do it at what she says are appropriate times, like following the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance.
School officials worry the chants could come across as intolerant and offensive to some, but parents CBS13 spoke with see it differently, as an expression of pride and acceptance.
“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," said mother Natalie Woodbury. I’m glad that they will still allow our students to cheer for our country,” said mother Cody Santero.
Senior Ryan Bernal told the station he doesn't chant "USA!" to be divisive. "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.”