Changes coming to Elder student section after racial taunts

Elder High School (FOX19 NOW/file)
Elder High School (FOX19 NOW/file)

FINNEYTOWN, OH (FOX19) - Students and basketball players from Elder and St. Xavier high schools met Monday to address racially charged and inappropriate comments made at a recent basketball game between the schools.

As a result of the racial tauntssome changes are coming to the Elder student section.

Parents from St. X told FOX19 NOW that some of the students chanted "PF Changs" at a student of Asian descent. They also say students chanted homophobic slurs and singled out an African-American player, saying he was on crack, receiving welfare, and calling him fat.

School officials say they want to use this unfortunate incident as a teachable moment. Principals from both schools addressed the media Monday.

"I like to start of the just apologizing on the behalf of Elder High School," said Elder Principal Kurt Ruffing. "What happened is not indicative of the school and what we teach at Elder. We're treating this as a learning and growing experience."

Disciplinary action has been taken against the Elder students who were involved. Elder school officials did not say how the students were disciplined, however.

"As much as I would like to share with you, that is something that we keep internal. I can tell you that there have been students that were disciplined," said Ruffing.

In addition to the discipline, changes are coming to the Elder student section. The first row will now only consist of cheerleaders approved by student council moderators, who will then guide others through what are appropriate cheers.

Both sides believe the incident has opened avenues for parents to talk to students about the incident at home.

"Our goal looking forward -- not with just Elder and St. X, but with all archdiocese schools -- what can we do to make sure that this behavior doesn't happen again? And more importantly, to kind of educate our students on respecting human dignity,” said St. X principal Terry Tyrrell.

Reporter Sara Celi contributed to this story.

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