This banner was displayed over the weekend at a McAdory High School football game.

Principal Apologizes for ‘Trail of Tears’ Banner, Makes It a Teaching Moment

Vincent Schilling

It’s been the banner read ‘round the social media world. The 20-foot-tall “Hey Indians, Get Ready to Leave in a Trail of Tears, Round 2” banner was displayed at a McAdory High School football game last weekend and since caused outrage online.

RELATED: High School Slammed for Its Mocking and Shocking ‘Trail of Tears’ Banner

Monday, McAdory High School Principal Tod Humphries issued an apology on the school’s website and today he reached out to ICTMN. He said he wanted to ensure the public he felt remorseful about the incident and that the sign was a mistake, not malicious.

“I knew when the sign popped up that it was a mistake. The woman that oversees this was on maternity leave, but I know this is not an excuse. I don’t know what else to say other than it was wrong,” Humphries said.

“That is not what we are. The adults in the audience and in the stands understood immediately when the sign went up that it was wrong. I know this perception is not out there right now, but it is not who we are.”

Humphries expressed concern that his school would be seen as a stereotypical Alabama “redneck” school that did not care about the history of Indians. Humphries says nothing could be further from the truth and that the school is extremely diverse.

“We are a very diverse school, with 40 percent African-American, 15 percent Hispanic, rich and poor and everybody gets along. We are probably the most diverse school in our district. Our school is also very family oriented,” Humphries said.

“Most people in the South are part Native American. If you asked our classes who has Native American ancestry, about half the class will raise their hands. The Creeks were here—the Cherokee and the Scots-Irish came in here and intermarried. Most of us here have Native American blood, however ignorance can still slip in about the history of us,” said Humphries.

Humphries also said the moment, though difficult, was an opportunity for teaching.

“We are going to take buses and travel Friday to Gadsden, Alabama to visit the Native American man who has a Indian Removal Act Museum,” Humphries said. “We will be taking the cheerleaders and the student government.”

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Jim cannon's picture
Jim cannon
Submitted by Jim cannon on
History is all but lost on the youth of today it shows they don't care about the past don't they realize it was ancestors of long ago due to their strong spirits and the do not die and never give in attitude is why anyone with native blood is the survivors of today and they disgrace them In this way ...sad

celeste v-n's picture
celeste v-n
Submitted by celeste v-n on
not a lot of supervision there at the school, huh? who oversees stuff? if a student gets raped under the bleachers are you going to claim "our school is diverse?" this sign was created, hung up, then publicly on display, and no one with objections vocalized or took action...? REALLY? being "very diverse" does not equate with "caring about the history of " Native Americans.

randi's picture
Submitted by randi on
soooo.....when a teacher is out having a baby there's no money for a substitute? the little twits get to run around unsupervised. does that make sense? let me guess.....the tax payer gets to finance the teachers medical bills while she's out, correct? to the cheerleaders realise that women had no rights in the country at that time either? the entire time period is more than "a stain" on our countrys history. i don't consider it "culturally offensive". it's offensive to humanity.

Alice Martin's picture
Alice Martin
Submitted by Alice Martin on
It doesn't explain why it was there to begin with, the students that held it up, were they not old enough to know it was wrong to hold the thing up for all to see? We were taken from the land that we took care of and put us on land that they didn't want, lots of the family died on that trail, they have to think how they would feel if we put up a sign that told everybody who stole our property to..GET OUT!!!!