Referees at a high school basketball game in Ohio had to stop the game because of racist chants directed against Asian and African-American players.
On Friday, Elder High School and Saint Xavier High School were set to play against each other, but the game had to be stopped when Elder students’ chants got out of hand.
Local station WLWT talked to parents who said that their children were targeted with chants like “P.F. Chang’s” and “welfare.”
“I was sickened, just sickened,” said Susan Stockman, who claimed her son was targeted with chants like “Asian, open your eyes. Go play chess. P.F. Chang’s.”
Mina Jefferson said that her son was targeted too, with students chanting that he was on welfare and on crack.
“Very quickly, the cheers turned to what I phrased as microaggressions and racial slurs,” Jefferson said.
The parents said that they were disappointed no one stopped the game or stepped in to deal with the chanting until the third quarter. By that point, even the Saint X coach was being targeted by the chanting.
The coach was the one to speak to the referees and ask them to stop the game.
“It’s surreal. I mean, you hear it and you assume someone’s going to act swiftly, seize the moment and let that be the lesson and that didn’t occur. So then you’re dealing with just an absence, a failure of leadership,” Jefferson said.
The school responds
Elder High School Principal Kurt Ruffing issued an apology for his students’ behavior on Tuesday and also spoke to the student body about the impact of their actions.
“Look around you. You have students, your classmates, who are of different race, of different ethnicity, sitting right next to you. Is that how you would treat them?” Ruffing said.
Ruffling promised to make sure that this never happened again. He said that the students involved are facing discipline and that one student had been escorted from the game. What’s more, seven or eight students will be going to Saint X to have lunch there to interact with the students and apologize in person.