Shenango football game closed to community after cheerleader protest

Cheerleaders at Cornell High School, located in Coraopolis, Pa., kneeled during the national anthem at a previous game

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SHENANGO TWP., Pa. (WYTV) – Only Shenango parents and players were allowed to attend the football game against Cornell High School on Friday, meaning there were no student sections, cheerleaders, bands or extended family and friends.

These changes were made in fear of protests after 12 of Cornell’s cheerleaders kneeled during the national anthem in front of members of a local VFW post at a game earlier this season.

Cornell decided to reschedule its homecoming game to Friday afternoon instead of Friday evening. So players, coaches and other members of Shenango High School’s football team boarded their buses and headed to Allegheny County for an early kickoff.

It’s a match up that was supposed to be surrounded by homecoming festivities. Instead, the game was closed to the community and only parents of players watched from the stands.

Shenango Superintendent Dr. Michael Schreck said they haven’t received any complaints about it. He said that’s probably because the school is about an hour away to begin with.

The cheerleaders’ protest started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The gesture has become a way some choose to raise awareness of inequalities facing the black community in the United States, as well as tensions between police officers and minorities.

It sparked outrage from many, including military mom Randi Mariacher.

“Those are the men and women that have fought for our country and gave them the freedom to be able to take that knee.”

Cornell has been receiving numerous threats from people who find the action offensive and disrespectful.

The school district released the following statement:

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.