The Lake City Trojan Football Facebook page recently posted a moving video of parents, students, athletes and others in the community coming together on the high school football field for a “family circle.”
The group gathered in Lake City after practice in August to show support for 4-year-old Harper, the football coach’s daughter who currently battling a serious infection. Many prayed for the young girl to recover, and the football team posted the video to Facebook with the hashtag #harperstrong to raise awareness.
Apparently, it also raised the objections of the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists, which demanded Lake City Schools pull down the video because it allegedly promotes religion at school, WWTV reports.
On Friday, the district announced it will comply with the group’s demands to avoid the threat of litigation, and those supporting #HarperStrong were not impressed.
“I’m a little disappointed, but I understand they didn’t want to go through the entire litigation process, and possibly pay some heavy duty fines so I understand why they chose to do it,” Jennifer Smith told the news site.
“All they’ve really done for us is increase the funding, the fundraising, and there are schools down in Jennison that are now wearing #HarperStrong on their football helmets,” she said.
Local Elizabeth Kramer agreed.
“As you go down the roads you see many #HarperStrong, it’s not going to stop us it’s only going to make us move forward and work harder for the support the family deserves,” Kramer said.
The MACRA, meanwhile, celebrated its victory.
“The bottom line is it’s the property of the school and the school has a responsibility to treat it just like any other school property, and that means it has to remain free of religion,” said co-founder Mitch Kahle.
And while the video of the family circle is now gone, the banner on the LC Trojan Football Twitter page still proudly displays the community gathered together.
Folks who commented on Facebook about the situation were disgusted.
“Shame on that … group. I know that this was no requirement this was an option for the children and they ran by the children,” Stephanie Annis posted. “I for one would be proud if my children sat with their friends and family in honor of this child. #harperstrong”
“THIS is what’s wrong with America today!!” Tammy Keeler wrote. “We think this is a great opportunity to simply support a beautiful lil girl! Nothing more!! If anything, we’ve heard of #harperstrong & will be praying!! From Manistee!!”
“Unbelievable! Don’t want to take part in it? Then just walk away!” Laurie Gibson added. “We did this all the time after my son’s high school football games. Great way to show the value of community!!”
“Seriously??? They are condemning a good wholesome thing here!! Families in prayer for a child and the school can’t let them do it??? What is wrong with this country!!! What about their civil rights????” Steph Buono posted.