Iowa HS football players kicked off team over burning cross photo

September 8, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Five Iowa high school football players were booted from their team this week after a photo surfaced on social media that showed them wearing white hoods while standing beside a burning cross.

Screenshot via Twitter

Creston/Orient-Macksburg football coach Brian Morrison confirmed to The Des Moines Register that all players involved were off the team. He also suggested that some of the players have secured lawyers.

In the photo, which was posted on Twitter, five teens are wearing white hoods while standing near a burning cross. One is holding a Confederate flag, while another is holding a firearm. There was no indication of where or when the photo was taken.

From The Des Moines Register:

On Friday, an attorney for the Creston Community School District, Kristy M. Latta, issued the following statement:

The Creston Community School District is committed to providing a positive and respectful learning environment for students.  As an educational institution, we strive to promote civil discourse and tolerance for differing views.  However, when there is a substantial disruption of or material interference with the learning environment, it is appropriate for the District to take responsive action.  We are hopeful that everyone can learn from this situation as we continue working to provide our students the best educational opportunities we can.

Parents of at least one student in the photo contacted The Des Moines Register, apologizing for their son’s actions. They said they agreed with the school’s disciplinary actions.

The newspaper spoke with Drake University Law Professor Mark Kende, who said the school district’s actions could be a “constitutional overreach,” violating the students’ free speech rights.

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