A Texas superintendent has apologized after fans at a girls basketball game chanted “USA! USA! USA,” drawing allegations of racism.
The incident echoes a similar episode in 2012 when a primarily white group of Alamo Heights fans chanted “USA! USA!” after winning a boys basketball game against Edison High School, which had a predominantly Hispanic roster.
Members of the Idalou High School section during a game Tuesday against Slaton High School began the chant, which drew allegations of racism from Slaton Superintendent Julee Becker.
“I believe that we are a microcosm in schools of greater society,” Becker told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal regarding the incident. “That’s what we are. The symptoms of racism, they run deep.”
Becker told the Avalanche-Journal that Slaton has not filed a formal complaint with the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for Texas public schools, saying that “in some ways, this is a bigger deal than the UIL.”
Idalou Superintendent Jim Waller said that no students had been disciplined, but issued a written apology: “I apologize to Slaton ISD and the chanting will not be allowed to continue at games because of the perception that it creates. We understand competitiveness and school excitement and support, but we need to be supportive in our words to our team and not use words that may be interpreted as insensitive to an opposing team.”
“I was not aware of anything about that until it was brought to my attention by someone else about what had happened at some other schools,” Waller told the Avalanche-Journal. “I immediately apologized to the (Slaton) superintendent. I emailed this morning a written apology and called an administrators meeting.”
SAISD athletic director Gil Garza filed a complaint with the UIL, the second year in a row that a compaint about racially motivated chants was filed afte rthe Region IV-4A basketball tournament.
Alamo Heights ISD Superintendent Kevin Brown said he apologized to SAISD officials and said students who chanted would not be allowed to attend the Mules’ following game. Brown said some students disciplined for the chanting were Hispanic.
“Unfortunately, after the game, we had a handful of students who made a bad decision and we’re very sorry it happened,” Brown said. “They made a mistake and we’re going to use this as a learning experience.”
In 2011, Cedar Park students chated “USA, USA” and “Arizona, Arizona,” referencing controversial immigration legislation passed in that state. Leander ISD officials later apologized to SAISD for that incident.
—Courtesy of Weasel Zippers