Cheerleaders at Arkansas high school under fire for 'Make America Great Again' banner

A public school in Arkansas is under fire after cheerleaders held a sign that read, "Make America Great Again, Trump the Leopards" during a football game against a school with a high percentage of black students. (Photo: Twitter)

A public high school in Arkansas is under fire after cheerleaders lifted a banner at a football game that read, "Make America Great Again."

On Friday, cheerleaders from Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy, Ark., displayed a banner featuring President Donald Trump's campaign slogan with the words "Trump the Leopards” at a football game against Malvern High School.

According to State Sen. Joyce Elliott, who tweeted an image of the poster on Saturday, the sign was "totally inappropriate" for a public school.

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"We are all entitled to our politics of choice but not to using public entities to advance our politics," the senator wrote.

Hours later, State Rep. Aaron Pilkington responded to Elliott's tweet, telling her to "chill out."

"It’s a play on words," Pilkington wrote. "God forbid kids use political slogans to make a joke about beating a team in football."

While Pilkington regards the banner as a joke, others in the Malvern community believe the message to be racially-motivated, as Trump's campaign slogan is considered racist-coded language by some critics.

"Lake Hamilton this is not a good look, the bad part is that you went to a majority African American/Hispanic School District with this," one person wrote on Facebook.

Another commented: "Lake Hamilton High tried to be slick and use a play on words to support their team. It would've flown under the radar if this game was at Lake Hamilton. But they did it in MALVERN for a reason because of the demographics in that city and school. It was a low underbelly political message."

According to the Arkansas ADE Data CenterMalvern High School's student body is more than 30 percent black, while 3.4 percent of Lake Hamilton High School's student body is black.

While Lake Hamilton School District did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment, the following statement was provided to KFSM: “The Lake Hamilton School District believes that all school activities should be conducted in an environment where good sportsmanship and respect are shown. The banner displayed at the football game this past Friday was not intended to make a political statement or endorsement. The district has taken steps to ensure that all future banners do not mention or reference political or controversial issues.”

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