ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — Students at a suburban Chicago Catholic high school were disciplined for shouting racist and body-shaming chants at members of a visiting girls basketball team, the principal said.
In a letter obtained by the (Elgin) Courier-News, the principal of St. Edward Central Catholic High School acknowledged that the allegations made by officials at Bishop McNamara Catholic High School in Kankakee were true. According to a Bishop McNamara football and track coach who was at the game, students from St. Edward Central in Elgin were making the sounds of monkeys and whales at the team.
“The behavior of some individuals from our school at the St. Edward CCHS and Bishop McNamara girls basketball game was completely unacceptable and runs contrary to our belief and values,” Brian Tekampe, who is also the school’s superintendent, wrote in a letter to the school community. “As a school, as a community and as a Catholic faith, we condemn racism and discriminatory behavior against all people in any form.”
Tekampe’s letter did not say what discipline the students faced.
The principal at Bishop McNamara, who had previously said in a letter that his girls varsity team was subjected to “racist and discriminatory behavior” said that St. Edward officials have apologized.
“We have been in direct contact throughout the week with the administration of St. Edward and they have assured us that those involved have been disciplined,” Terry Granger wrote after previously complaining that he didn’t think St. Edward officials did enough to stop the fan behavior. “They also have informed us that they are in the initial planning stages to address this issue with their entire student body upon their return from Christmas break.”
St. Edward has scheduled a Jan. 24 assembly in which African American deacon, author and radio host Art Miller will speak. Miller, the director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, grew up on Chicago’s South Side. According to his website, he was a student at the same school attended by 14-year-old Emmett Till, the Chicago boy whose 1955 killing in Mississippi shocked the nation and galvanized the civil rights movement.
The Illinois High School Association conducted its own investigation and will make sure that St. Edward responds in a “satisfactory way,” said its assistant executive director, Matt Troha. He did not elaborate.