A Massachusetts all-boys Catholic high school has apologized after some of its students chanted ‘You killed Jesus!’ during a basketball game against a school with a large Jewish enrollment.
The chanting horrified and upset many who were attending the Friday game between Newton North High School and Catholic Memorial School, The Boston Globe reported.
Catholic Memorial President Peter Folan apologized on Saturday for what he called ‘abhorrent behavior.’
He said the school ‘believes deeply that intolerance, of any kind, is unacceptable.’
During Friday’s game, which Catholic Memorial won 77-73, the fan section of Newton North taunted the Catholic school about not having girl students, shouting ‘Where are your girls?’
In response, the Catholic school students started the anti-Semitic chant.
Newton Superintendent David Fleishman, who said he found the behavior ‘chilling’, said as soon as the students started the chant, the interim principal spoke with Catholic Memorial officials, who put an immediate stop to it.
Fleishman and Folan both noted that the students were reprimanded and that each student personally apologized to the principal.
Folan said in a statement on Saturday that the school will ‘strenuously address’ the issue within the school community and apologized for the action of the schools’ students during the game.
‘In my mind, this is incredibly upsetting and troubling, and they have a lot of work to do at Catholic Memorial,’ Fleishman told The Boston Globe.
He said he has contacted the Anti-Defamation League about it, and Newton students on Monday will discuss what happened.
Newton officials also plan to discuss the Newton High fans’ use of a joking reference to male anatomy, which Fleishman reportedly acknowledged could be offensive.
Robert Trestan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, said that they are interested in working with both schools to ‘make sure this doesn’t become a lost opportunity,’ The Boston Globe reported.
‘This incident is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do, and we need to do it together,’ he said on Saturday.
Newton Mayor Setti Warren said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by the chant, according to The Boston Globe.
The incident on Friday night also marked at least the third time in the previous month that high students made headlines for offensive cheers.
In February, a group of high school students was admonished for seemingly using the chant ‘Trump’ as a racial insult during a boys’ basketball game.
The incident occurred during a playoff game between Dallas Center-Grimes in West Des Moines, a largely white school, and Perry, a more diverse school north of Des Moines with many Hispanic students.
A similar incident occurred when members of Andrean High School taunted Bish Noll Institute, a heavily Hispanic school, by waving a picture cutout of Trump and shouted ‘build a wall’ at opponents during a basketball game.
Friday’s incident also follows three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti that were reported in recent months at FA Day Middle School, which are being investigated.
Earlier this month, ‘Burn the Jews’ was sprayed on the walls of a boys bathroom.
SOURCE: The Associated Press; Daily Mail, Myriah Towner