More high schools are being forced to investigate inappropriate chants made by students in the stands at competitions.
The Freedom (Penn.) Area School District announced this week that it is looking into inappropriate chants made during a boys’ basketball game Friday night against New Brighton High School.
"We do not condone this type of behavior and we were not aware of the incident until after the game," Freedom Area athletic director John Rosa told The Times. "It is under investigation. We cannot comment on student discipline. All individuals involved will be disciplined according to the student handbook."
According to The Times, Freedom students made a list of chants to direct at New Brighton. One New Brighton student had recently lost his father, and the Freedom students had come up with a “Your dad is history” chant.
The Freedom Area School District issued a statement on the situation on Saturday event that reads:
"We are aware of the inappropriate and disgraceful comments being made to players on the New Brighton boys basketball team by spectators at Friday night's game. We are taking this very seriously and have begun an investigation. We assure you that students involved in this incident will be disciplined in accordance of our student handbook. This is not the culture we want in our school district. We are also working with the New Sewickley Police Department to investigate reported threats made against some of our students."
Cedar Crest (Penn.) High School is also working to understand what happened at a game last week against McCaskey High School.
In a statement to The Lebanon Daily News, the Cedar Crest said that what may have sounded like the N-word was actually a group of students calling a McCaskey player “Thon Maker,” because they believed the player looked like the former NBA player.
McCaskey athletic director Jon Mitchell refuted that claim, saying his player did not look like Thom Maker, who is seven feet tall and has short cut hair, at all.
“No, we do not have anybody who looks like that on our team,” McCaskey athletic director Jon Mitchell told PennLive Friday. “The player they told us they were talking about is about 6-foot-2 or 6-3. We are just not a really, big team.
“The one thing I would encourage you to look into is whether the N-word is the only racist comment,” Mitchell said. “And whether the one student being compared to someone just based off the color of his skin is appropriate.
“Perhaps we need to look at what we are cheering at games,” he added. “And I’m not sure why anyone would be yelling at our players. I’ll let other people be the judge of whether or not making a comparison to someone solely on the base of their skin color is the right thing to do.”
Jeremy Blevins, who published the video to his Twitter account, said it isn’t “an isolated incident that racial slurs have been yelled during athletic competitions at Cedar Crest, and several of his followers agreed with him.
On Thursday of last week, Cedar Crest issued a comment on social media, saying the school is aware of the incident and is investigating. Just 24 hours later, the school told the Lebanon Daily News that “None of the students and spectators in attendance heard a racial slur being said. Students did acknowledge, however, that they were calling one of McCaskey’s student athletes Thon Maker. Thon Maker is a former NBA professional basketball player.
“The use of social media often leads to a rush to judgment,” it added. “Such hastily posted tweets or comments can inflame and create hostilities based on inaccurate information.”
The incidents in Pennsylvania come just weeks after the mother of a high school boys’ basketball player caught a fan yelling racist chants at her son.