Elder principal on racially charged incident at a basketball game: 'This past week is not us'

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The principal of Elder High School met face-to-face with the school's biggest supporters Thursday, following a racially charged incident at a basketball game this past week.

Nearly 700 alumni and friends packed an auditorium for the school's annual sports stag, and Principal Kurt Ruffing wanted to address them before the program started. He took the responsibility on his shoulders as the leader of the school.

The school says a group of Elder students chanted racially insensitive remarks at a recent game against St. Xavier. Spectators said the remarks grew more and more inappropriate as the game went on.

The school says the group targeted an Asian player and yelled at a black player saying he was on crack, was receiving welfare, and that he was fat.

"At last Friday's basketball game it became more than a sports contest. The atmosphere in this very room was quite ugly," said Ruffing. "As the leader of this great institution, I apologize to all of you."

A round of applause followed the principal's remarks when he said: "We all have pride in Elder and what happened this past week is not us."

Solomon Wilcots, a former Bengal, was the keynote speaker at the event.

"My heart and head goes out to the people and to the families and to the kids who were hurt by those hurtful comments and I think what we have to do is bring some healing to the situation and then I think we all have to do a really good job of setting a better example," he said.

The story has now gained national attention and to begin the healing process, Elder administrators will take a few students over to St. X next Monday to discuss what happened.

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