School officials apologize for students' 'racial, ethnic chants' at game

School officials apologize for students' 'racial, ethnic chants' at game

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Elder High School officials have apologized for the actions of its student section during a Feb. 2 basketball game against St. Xavier.

During the third quarter of this past Friday's Elder vs. St. X game, members of Elders student section made "racial and ethnic chants" toward members of the St. X team, according to Elder school officials.

Parents from St. X tell FOX19 NOW the students chanted "PF Changs" at a student of Asian descent. The group is also said to have chanted homophobic slurs and singling out a black player, saying he was on crack, receiving welfare, and calling him fat. Spectators say the chants grew more and more inappropriate as the game went on, reaching a peak in the third quarter.

"They made a mistake," said Elder Principal Kurt Ruffing. "And again, I was questioning -- why? What was going through their minds when they were doing this? I am not by any means making excuses for what our students said, but when our administrators realized what they were saying they took action. At one point one of our students was escorted out of the field house."

A release from the school reads, in part:

...more importantly, Elder High School sincerely apologizes for the remarks made by its student section and for the severe lack of disrespect 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. 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. We promise to do better in order to reestablish your trust in us as we continue committing ourselves to preparing our students for life after high school.

School administrators addressed students Tuesday at an assembly. Another assembly is slated to be held Friday and will focus on embracing diversity.

Elder principal Kurt Ruffing, the Athletic Director, Guidance Director, and about eight students were scheduled to go to St. X on Thursday to have lunch and meet with some of the St. X basketball players. That lunch has been rescheduled.

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