- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2017

A California high school is warning students that there’s a time and place for them to chant “USA,” and that sporting events might not be the appropriate venue because it could send an “unintended message” to opponents.

The chant has been used in the past, apparently in a derogatory manner, toward students of different ethnicities in others schools. Officials at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom said that was never the case at their school, but that they were taking preventative steps to discuss with students how the chant could be deemed offensive.

In an email sent to families Wednesday, obtained by a local CBS affiliate, Principal Lori Emmington said that in the school’s effort to promote “sportsmanship, empathy and kindness,” they had opened up a discussion with dozens of students to determine when chanting “USA” is and isn’t appropriate. They determined that it would “make sense” to chant it after the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance or any other patriotic event, but that it “might be confusing” to do it during a competitive event when it could be misinterpreted.

The email came after the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which oversees high school athletics, addressed those same concerns with local districts.

Mike Garrison, commissioner of CIF’s Sac-Joaquin Section, declared, “There’s a time and a place to yell that and cheer that,” CBS reported.

District officials stressed that there is no ban on chanting, “USA,” but that this was an exercise on teaching students empathy.

“To practice empathy, to practice kindness and to practice patriotism. You can do both,” said Daniel Thigpen, spokesman of the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, CBS reported.

Last September, the Ottawa-Kent Conference in West Michigan restricted school sports fans to only chanting “USA” before or after the national anthem, after some fans used the chant to taunt opposing players during game play.

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