11/20/2013 04:34 pm ET

'Trail Of Tears' Banner Controversy Prompts Apology From School

Students at this school may need a lesson in cultural sensitivity.

Students and staff at McAdory High School in Alabama have come under fire after displaying a banner that references the Trail Of Tears at a football game Friday.

The sign, which was made to mock the school’s football opponents, the Pinson Valley Indians, read: "Hey Indians, get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears Round 2."

A picture of the sign was first published to Tumblr on Saturday by user fiftyfourfortyorfight, according to Indian Country Today Media Network. The post has since been deleted. The outlet reports the writer expressed disdain for the sign, writing, “I am absolutely disgusted that this sign was allowed to go up.” The post continued, “Sorry, but the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the death of thousands of Native Americans is not a joke.”

On Monday, the McAdory High School principal issued a public apology for the banner on the school’s website. The statement reads:

This was not condoned by the school administration, the Jefferson County Board of Education or the community. The person who would normally be responsible for approving such signs is out on maternity leave, and I take full responsibility that arrangements were not made to have the signs pre-approved before the ballgame.”

The statement also says that all social studies and history teachers will “re-teach and/or review units concerning Native American displacement following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.”

Some members of the Native American community have expressed deep disappointment in regard to the sign, saying it's representative of larger prejudices against Native Americans, according to NBC News.

"This is representative of the miseducation in our school systems, especially with regard to Native peoples," Adrienne Keene, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a doctoral student at Harvard University, told the outlet. "This points to a lot of underlying issues about how Native Americans are perceived in American society."

"When institutions and sports organizations have Indians as mascots or monikers the unavoidable result is racially or socio-politically driven offensive material," Chase Iron Eyes, a Standing Rock and Oglala Lakota, wrote to NBC in an email.



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