North Stanly HS football game canceled over safety concerns related to cheerleader probation debate

The Friday night football game scheduled for North Stanly High School has been canceled over security concerns related to the recent probation of cheerleaders at the school, officials said.

Stanly County Schools released a statement on the district's website that they had been notified of additional information that "could compromise safety measures" North Stanly High has in place for sporting events.

"Upon receiving information at approximately 3:00 P.M., at this time we regret to announce we will be canceling the North Stanly High School football game scheduled for Friday, September 20, 2019, with the support of Rowan-Salisbury Schools. We understand this may cause an inconvenience for many, and we apologize. Please know our number one concern is the safety of our students, athletes, staff, and community supporters."

The decision to cancel the game comes after the North Stanly High School cheer squad was placed on probation for displaying signs supporting President Donald Trump at a local football game last month. 

Just three days ago, U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), whose district includes Stanly County, sent the NC High School Athletic Association a letter questioning the probation of North Stanly High School cheerleaders after they were pictured with other students holding the political sign.  

The NCHSAA said the probation was not a punishment, but a "notice of behavior or action that is against NCHSAA Handbook Policy or contrary to expectations of sportsmanship and proper behavior."  They said if the behavior continues, fines or suspensions could be implemented. 

Friday night's game was supposed to take place at 6 p.m. at home. A Facebook group was created, with about 210 people confirming they would be attending to show support for the cheer squad by bringing signs. More than 1,000 said they were interested in going.