At least two Midwestern high schools have become engulfed in controversy when students attending basketball games hoisted Donald Trump signs and called out Trump chants to heckle opposing teams.
The two schools, one in Iowa and one in Indiana, both investigate incidents of mostly white students using GOP frontrunner Donald Trump as a taunt against students from opposing, more mixed-race schools.
In Iowa students from the largely white Dallas Center-Grimes (DCG) school in West Des Moines began chanting Donald Trump’s name during a February 22 game with Perry High, a mostly Hispanic school.
According to the Associated Press, about a dozen students of the nearly 120 in attendance began chanting “Trump, Trump!” after Dallas Center-Grimes lost in a 57-50 game to Perry.
Steve Watson, activities director at DCG, said that the chant went on for only a few iterations of the candidate’s name before school administrators shut it down. Citing privacy concerns, Watson also refused to identify any of the chanters or say whether or not there was to be any disciplinary actions taken against them.
Perry coach Ned Menke said neither he nor his staff heard the chants but some of his players told him they had heard it and had taken offense.
“When you find out about it, your initial reaction was kind of disbelief. Like, ‘Really? That just happened?” Menke added.
This isn’t a lone incident. Chants of Trump used to taunt other teams have been heard from DCG students before.
That isn’t all. Trump was used as a taunt in yet another Midwestern high school hundreds of miles away, too.
Late in the week students from the mostly white Andrean High School hoisted signs featuring an oversized Trump head to heckle students from the majority Hispanic Bishop Noll Institute at the Gary Diocese Catholic Cup championship game in Merrillville, Indiana, a town about an hour southeast of Chicago.
Andrean students also reportedly held up signs reading, “ESPN Deportes.”
Authorities from the two Catholic schools hastened to note that fans from both teams were engaging in a back and forth over the game, with Andrean High School students chanting “Build a wall” as Bishop Noll students replied with “You’re a racist!”
As The Times of Northwest Indiana reported, the racism taunts continued when several black Andrean students were pointed out after which Hispanic Bishop Noll students replied, “You’re a token.”
By the weekend, neither school had issued a formal statement on the Friday incident, though Paul Mullaney, president of Bishop Noll Institute, told the media “We are dealing with it internally.”
Despite some hand wringing over the incident posted on Facebook by Ashley Howard, a local volleyball coach who attended the game, some students said that since both sides engaged in the taunting it might be hard to assign too much blame.
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