Georgia: Rally to support LFO cheerleaders begins

Georgia: Rally to support LFO cheerleaders begins

September 29th, 2009 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Staff Photo by Dan Henry People gather in support of the Lakeview-Fort Oglethrope High school cheerleaders. The cheerleader use biblical verses on their pre-game banners.

Several hundred supporters are gathering at the polo grounds on Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., to show their support for cheerleaders at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School whose Bible-verse-bearing signs were banned last week.

Don and Shirley Willingham, grandparents of a cheerleader, said they came to support the cheerleading group.

"They're trying to take God out of our schools," Mr. Willingham said.

The signs in question were banned last week after a Fort Oglethorpe resident lodged a verbal complaint about the messages with Catoosa County Schools Superintendent Denia Reese. Ms. Reese ordered the cheerleaders not to use their signs inside the stadium but provided a "designated area" outside where the cheerleaders' signs will be welcome.

School cheerleader coach Susan Bradley said Tuesday that the cheerleaders aren't bucking the superintendent's directions and have decided to use the Bible verse signs only in the designated area.

Ms. Bradley said the cheerleaders will make a new sign, with acceptable slogans, for the football team to burst through onto the field before the game on Friday.

Principal Jerry Ransom said the signs have existed since 2001, when similar ones were displayed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent outpouring of patriotic support.