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School Accidentally Opens White Pride Fitness Room


Sometimes, in our own excitement, we can miss the finer details.

Such was the case in River Falls, Wisconsin this week as Meyer Middle School inadvertently found itself embroiled in a glorious comedy of errors.

Here’s how it went down…

The school desperately needed a new fitness center.  So, they formed a fundraising committee.  The goal of the Pride Fitness committee would be to raise $100,000 in private donations.  This would save the school from having to dip into tax-payer funds to complete the new facility.

Assisted by the local credit union, the Pride Fitness committee enjoyed enormous success.  They met their goal and then some in no small part thanks to a generous donation from a prominent, local citizen, Roger T. White.

Elated by his team’s hard work and anxious to recognize everyone’s contribution, school Principal Chuck Eaton announced the new name for the fitness center:

It would be the “Roger T. White Pride Fitness Room As Presented by RCU (Royal Credit Union)”.

It was a bit lengthy.  The public agreed.

And so Principal Eaton pondered in the local newspaper that perhaps they would shorten the name of the fitness center to:

“The White Pride Fitness Room”

Uh oh.

As you might imagine, social media in Wisconsin lost its collective mind.

Deliciously angry and mis-spelled rants began appearing all over Facebook:

“This is terribly. White pride? Which culturally insensitive committee let this slide? So much for building an inclusive community…”

Poor Principal Eaton didn’t think this through.  Like, at all.

But it also wasn’t an intentionally malicious idea.  It didn’t matter.  The damage had been done and the school district promptly went about saving face.

The superintendent, Jamie Benson, issued a statement.

“We can see and understand how the new name, ‘Roger T. White Pride Fitness Room’ could be viewed by some people as implying ‘white pride,’” Benson said. “Clearly that was never the intent of the community group, the White family, RCU, nor the school district.”

One might imagine that this statement was written after Superintendent Benson facepalmed and asked aloud, “Seriously, Chuck?  Really?”

“To prevent any future misunderstanding,” the statement continued. “The fitness center will be named and referred to as the ‘Roger T. White Wildcat Fitness Room’ or the ‘Roger T. White Fitness Room as Presented by RCU.’”

He assured the community that the new fitness center will not be called the White Pride Room, not even informally.

At time of writing, things appear to have calmed down a bit in River Falls, Wisconsin.

But if there is a lesson to be learned from the incident, it may be that sometimes a proof-reader might be appropriate.  Also, be careful what you say to the press.

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