ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois High School Association is investigating claims that student fans at a high school girls basketball game west of Chicago subjected members of a visiting team to racist and body-shaming chants and slurs.
Officials from Bishop McNamara Catholic School in Kankakee say the ugly behavior was on display Saturday during their varsity team’s game against St. Edward Catholic School in Elgin, WLS-TV reported. Bishop McNamara fans and parents say students in the St. Edward fan section were yelling racist comments throughout the game, including making animal noises at a black Bishop McNamara player and another member of the team.
“Whale sounds and monkey sounds and all that, and nothing is done? That’s unacceptable,” said J.J. Hollis, a football and track coach at Bishop McNamara who was at the game. “One of them is racially insensitive and the other one is just like, insensitive toward her body.”
Hollis said at some point, someone told the crowd over the public address system to stop the chants, but that this wasn’t nearly enough, radio station WBBM reported.
“The kids kept doing it the whole game,” he said.
Bishop McNamara’s principal, Terry Granger, said he doesn’t think St. Edwards administrators did enough to stop the fan behavior, noting that none of the offending fans were kicked out.
“Both of our basketball coaches are African American. So let’s think about that for a second, and they are hearing monkey noises being portrayed toward their kids,” Hollis said.
“You are telling me they could not get those kids out of the game and under control? That’s unacceptable,” he said.
Brian Tekampe, the superintendent and principal of St. Edward, sent a letter to Bishop McNamara apologizing for his students’ behavior. He later issued a public statement expressing remorse.
“We condemn racism and discriminatory behavior against all people in any form. We find the behavior to be very disturbing and counters our schools values and beliefs,” Tekampe said in his statement.
The high school association said it investigating the matter.
St. Edward will also conduct an investigation to determine who was involved and to discipline those who were, officials said.