Hoggard High’s spirit rocks repainted after controversial statements appear on it

Hoggard High's spirit rock on May 6, 2021. (Photo: WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Controversial statements recently painted on the spirit rock at Hoggard High School in Wilmington raised concerns for some parents, which were brought up during a school board meeting this week.

Images shared with WWAY show that “Trump 2024,” “Go Home Sleepy Joe,” and “Only 2 Genders,” were among the words written on the rock.

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WWAY asked New Hanover County Schools if they planned to take action and remove the words. The district said no and taking it down would have violated free speech.

“NHCS strives to foster a safe and positive environment as reflected in our mission; however, it may include differences of opinion on various subjects,” the district wrote to WWAY News. “NHCS will not be removing the statements because they are protected under the First Amendment. It is worth noting, the spirit rock is painted throughout the year during athletic events, school celebrations, and recognitions. The content on it changes frequently. NHCS will continue to monitor the situation and will act according to applicable law if the situation changes. NHCS encourages persons that were affected by the statements to seek support through a school counselor.”

As of Thursday morning, the rock had been repainted white.