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Western PA Supt. alleges he didn’t know about National Anthem protest

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Cheerleader shaking blue and white pom poms

A Western Pennsylvania superintendent is under fire after allegations that he had knowledge, which caused hurt feelings within the Cornell School District community.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, only parents of football players were allowed to attend a Friday, Oct. 14 football game against Shenango High School, in which no other students were allowed to watch. That’s because Supt. Aaron Thomas has been accused of permitting cheerleaders to take a knee during the national anthem before a home football game on Friday, Sept. 30.

A widely circulated video, the Post-Gazette reported, accused Thomas of knowing cheerleaders planned a protest, “but invited the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post to be the color guard at the Sept. 30 home game. Mr. Thomas said he had heard rumors a protest was planned for a previous away game, but that didn’t materialize.”

The district received hundreds of phone calls critical of the district and Thomas, the Post-Gazette reported. Some of the threats were violent.

In response to the video, and accusations, Cornell School District released the following statement:

“Cornell Community Members:

The past week and a half has been a very difficult and turbulent time for the Cornell School District. We have experienced a conflict and controversy that has challenged us in ways we didn’t think were possible prior to this. With that being said, we are ready to move on. Members of the Cornell School District were able to meet with the veterans of the local VFW Post 402 where a great discussion occurred. The District was able to relay their apology to the veterans and discuss ways to move forward. All were in agreement and are looking forward to expanding the relationship with the VFW and the Cornell School District. These brave men have many experiences, lessons and messages they are willing to share with our future generations and we will be promoting that. The district has received numerous messages from across the country expressing their displeasure, unfortunately based on inaccuracies from social media. Regardless, we are looking to move on. It is time to move past the displeasure and anger, and discuss healing and community building. Looking forward to moving on.”