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.