School ribbon pushed boundaries of taste

Sandusky school spirit fundraiser depicts hooded figure whipping restrained person
Alissa Widman Neese
Sep 21, 2013


Some Sandusky High School students may have taken a school spirit fundraiser a bit too far Friday, distributing ribbons displaying a questionable image to promote their weekend football game.

The ribbon, featuring the phrase “Whip the Whippets,” depicts a hooded individual whipping the buttocks of an individual who is restrained in handcuffs.

A Whippet, a medium-sized racing dog similar to a greyhound, is the mascot of Shelby High School, Sandusky High School’s opponent for their Friday-night varsity football game.

The Register received a copy of the image from two individuals Friday afternoon, both who said students were selling the ribbons during lunch.

When the Register contacted Sandusky High principal Ted Caleris and Sandusky Schools superintendent Eugene Sanders shortly after, the administrators both said they were not aware the ribbons existed.

After some investigating, the pair determined the “Whip the Whippets” ribbons were leftovers from a fundraiser this past year. Students were selling some Friday alongside “Go Big Blue, Weaken the Whippets” buttons featuring a dog, which were designed to promote this year’s game.

“My understanding is last year’s version of the ribbons had someone with a whip, or something of that nature, but that image is not part of this year’s program,” Sanders said.

Sandusky High students create a button or a ribbon each week, either in pep club or their art classes, to promote school spirit before their football games, Sanders said. Students sell the items during lunch, typically charging their classmates less than a dollar. They can wear the items with their school uniform.

Buttons promoting the football game against Perkins High School, for example, featured the phrase “Sink the Pirates,” Sanders said.

“We don’t condone anything that would discriminate against a team or suggest anything that would be inappropriate for our students or their families,” he said. “Clearly this slipped through the cracks in some way, because our district’s mature, responsible adults would not condone these images.”

Caleris said he will contact the Register on Monday with additional comments.


Raoul Duke

Oooh baby.

From the Grave

Why would anyone be outraged by this? It's clearly a guy with a black face whipping a guy with a white face.

The General

I know Jimmy, just like the ole days eh? give me some "shuga" babycakes


Oops! LOL!


Really, Alissa? How about giving the school district a chance to look into this and address it before plastering it in the paper and on the website. Why don't you print a real story like the one about a Huron Board member being investigated by the OEC? Now that's a story that has a real impact on a district.


But then how would we line our bird cages?


Remember when the school would sell the suckers and on the last period before the Fremont game a guy would get on the PA and everyone in the school would lick Fremont. Well, I am sure that none of the Register Reporters do, since they are all transplants.

If someone feels that this is offensive then obviously they have either despised high school and college sports, or they have no sense of humor. Another non-story to distract the readers from all the real issues.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment BDupler. Good story. But your suggestions are inaccurate. The newspaper and its employees have deep roots in the community, and you might not be the best judge of news value and content.


Big deal! Alissa seems to be pushing a non story. What about that Huron board member????


A current member is currently under investigation for selling products and services directly and indirectly to the school board for 17 years. He never filed the proper paperwork or recused himself from voting on projects that used his business. He tried denying to the Register that he is under investigation but the truth is that he is. I know several people who have been interviewed by the lady from the Ohio Ethics Commission. A couple of people have even tried to talk to Alissa about it but she won't return the phone calls or emails relating to it.


I hear all the things that happen in this city on the police scanner and wonder why the media never reports them. Then I see a non-story like this and I really have to question what is going on in the Register office.

What is really sad is that they bothered the school admins with this. Must be boring sitting in the newsroom ignoring all the real stories around here. The stories that require more work than making a couple phone calls.

Jason Werling

MrSandusky, my e-mail is open and ready for any news tips you may have in the future.

We can't hear everything on the scanner, but would appreciate any news tips.

We are also in the process of making it easier for our readers to submit their news tips and possibly get a reward for their best news scoops.

If you are all looking for some other stories to read instead of commenting on what you are calling a "non-story" here are a couple...

Stabbing in Sandusky

Homeless dogs with a video

Illness outbreak

Feds cutting food stamps

Or if you'd like some good news, here's a video we had earlier this week of a soldier who returned home and surprised his son.



Jason, would you tell us why the register won't touch the school board and the ethics investigation? You know it's true.

Jason Werling

When the Ohio Ethics Commission returns with their findings, I'm sure Alissa will have a story or several on what their findings are and what this means for the district and those involved. If any of the parties involved could comment before the OEC's findings are released, we would welcome it, but that has not been the case.

Until then Alissa will be sitting at her desk in the newsroom waiting patiently, twiddling her thumbs, for the next story about sales of inappropriate ribbons or whatever story everyone on here thinks she is doing.

But seriously, Alissa is a very good reporter and would welcome any and all school-related stories, both investigative and good things going on in any of our districts. 

She can be e-mailed at


If Ms. Widman did a public records request, she could determine if this person sold to the district. If she googled OEC rules she could determine if that is allowed. And there is your story.


Exactly!!!!!! But no one at the Register will do it. I understand that someone gave both Alissa and Jessica dates and amounts but no response.

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

It seems the comments section has derailed to Huron Schools again. I'll address a few issues and leave it at that, as it's not my place to clog up the comments section on our website.

I won't apologize for individuals being unhappy with my coverage of any stories and I won't dispute your opinions of what deserves a story and what doesn't — that's just that, your opinion, and you're 100 percent entitled to that right.

I'm not entirely sure who these "couple of people" are you're referencing, or the "several people who have been interviewed," but if any of them will give me comments on the record, I would possibly reconsider my stance on what I'll pursue at this point regarding any alleged investigations at Huron Schools. At this point, one person has persistently emailed me with their "tips" while asking to remain anonymous in any future stories. No one who is making these allegations has said they're willing to be named.

I always make a point to respond to individuals in a timely manner, even if they're sending me negative comments, so any missed phone calls or emails were not an intentional avoidance on my part. I apologize if I didn't respond. I am very busy (contrary to what some of you apparently believe) covering more than a dozen school districts, so I will admit I don't always get to everything as quickly as you may like, but I often respond to emails at all hours of the day and I frequently give my cell phone to sources so they can reach me more easily. To claim I "won't return phone calls or emails" is inaccurate.

At this time, I've submitted a public records request to a Huron Schools administrator regarding the Ohio Ethics Commission and I was told no such documents existed to fulfill that request.

If an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation does, in fact, reveal any misdeeds, I'll undoubtedly write a story about it. But at this point, hearsay from anonymous sources with no documents or statements to back it up is not something I consider a story in most, if not all instances, regardless of the school district or situation. That isn't how I do my job.

Jason, thanks for providing my contact information and the other information. In the future, if individuals have questions or comments regarding my coverage, email is a much better way to contact me and get an answer than anonymously posting things about me in the comments section of



Alissa you are missing the point. The story here is whether and how much a board member has been selling to the district, and whether that is allowed. An OEC investigation, to me, is irrellevent. If a Sandusky City Commissioner had a business that was selling to the city I doubt the Register would wait for confirmation it was being investigated by authorities before they started running stories on it.


Dear SR,

Is it not their Third Amendment, er, I mean Fourth, er Second, no, First Amendment Right to free speech? Or because they are under eighteen they have no rights? Or should we raise the age of majority to 100 and then we can amend the constitution to our liking?


Nothing like a little good humored bondage to get the school spirit juices flowing.


Sorry, but I think it is in very poor taste. But with the mindset of a lot of younger people I can understand why some think it is ok. If this was depicting anything other than a FOOTBALL game, people would be outraged.