Students from Elder High School in Ohio targeted basketball players of color from a rival team during a game last Friday.
Asian and black players from St. Xavier High School were subjected to racist chants and comments throughout the game.
At one point, students even told Nate Stockman, a multiracial Asian-American player, to “Go back to China” and “Open your eyes,” his mother, Susan Stockman, told local CBS affiliate WKRC.
And while at the free throw line, Bobby Jefferson, a black player, heard Elder students say he “smokes crack” and claim that he’s “on welfare,” among other offensive statements, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
What’s more, Mina Jefferson, Bobby’s mother, said the inappropriate jeering went on for more than half the game and didn’t stop until the St. Xavier coach instructed the referees to act.
“Why isn’t someone taking control? We were baffled,” she told the Enquirer. “It was so clear. It persisted and no one did anything. This was a culture where this clearly seems to be OK.’’
In a short clip of the game, the teens in Elder’s student section can also be heard chanting “P.F. Chang’s” at Nate. When he shot his free throws, the students reportedly yelled “USA, USA.” The students also said Bobby, who’s headed to Dartmouth in the fall, “can’t read,” according to the Enquirer.
In a press release, Elder High School Principal Kurt Ruffing apologized for the incident days after parents had written to him about the racist comments. However, Ruffing claimed that the chants occurred in the third quarter and teachers and staff quickly put a stop to the behavior, interrupting the game to do so. He also said that school held an assembly to address the matter.
“In addition to imposing internal disciplinary action for what transpired, Elder’s administration will take this opportunity to educate its students on the importance of accepting responsibility for one’s actions,” the statement read.
“Most importantly, Elder High School sincerely apologizes for the remarks made by its student section and for the severe lack of respect displayed by its students toward the St. Xavier basketball team, its coaching staff, the opposing student section, and all the fans, family members, and alumni of both schools,” Ruffing wrote. “This type of behavior is not condoned at Elder, nor is it indicative of the lessons taught and learned in our classrooms, hallways, and on our fields of play, and it will not be tolerated.”
Ruffing also sent apologies to both mothers over the incident.
The parents told WKRC that they hope that going forward, the students will no longer engage in such offensive behavior.
“It was so egregious to be at a sporting event, in a venue, hundreds of people and to have an entire student section engage in micro-aggressions and really hate speech,” Mina Jefferson said.