So many people phoned in death threats and complaints over a video of Pennsylvania high school cheerleaders taking a knee during the national anthem that the school district has called off homecoming.
Cornell High School opted to reschedule the homecoming game and ban students from attending the event out of fear of possible protests.
A video compilation of a dozen cheerleaders taking a knee during the national anthem on Sept. 30 went viral, leading to more than 600 angry phone calls to the school district. The superintendent and his family have also received death threats, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The edited video showed crying veterans and claimed the school district knew the girls were planning to protest during the anthem, but invited the local VFW to serve as color guard during the game anyway.
Superintendent Aaron Thomas says he did not know the silent protest was planned.
“Please know that I did not intentionally invite our veterans, gentlemen that I respect and admire immensely, to our football game to be protested in front of,” Thomas wrote in a statement.
The school district posted a statement on its website, noting that officials have apologized to the members of the local VFW. The district now hopes to move on from the controversy, which leaders called a “very difficult and turbulent time.”
Inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest of the national anthem, athletes around the country have begun taking a knee during the anthem to bring awareness to the oppressed and shine a spotlight on issues like police brutality.