A high school in Canton, Connecticut is scrambling to apologize after a section of students participated in racially-motivated chants at a basketball team consisting mostly of Black and Latino players.
In a conference semifinal game on Tuesday, players from Classical Magnet in Hartford were the targets of “Trump, Trump, Trump” chants during free throws, as well as “he’s our president!” chants throughout the game. Additionally, students from their opponents, Canton High School, unveiled banners supporting Trump, along with Trump-Pence t-shirts.
Classical Magnet principal Zandralyn Gordon wrote in a letter to the community on Thursday, saying that “[a]lthough our team won fair and square 48-47 in the conference semifinal at Canton, we were extremely disappointed in the behavior of some Canton fans in the stands who were chanting ‘Trump, Trump, Trump’ throughout the game and carrying similar banners.”
Since the game on Tuesday, which Classical won 48-47 to advance to the conference final, both representatives from Canton and parents of students at the high school have reached out with apologies to Classical.
Canton principal Andrew DiPippo also reached out to the parents of his students, saying that “[w]hile students’ right to free speech and forming educated opinions about politics and current events is a cornerstone of our educational system, the exact point where political opinion converges with disrespect, discrimination or hate speech must be separated.” He went on to express his disappointment that students had to not acted in accordance to Canton’s “message of community.”
The school has reportedly identified a group of “7 to 8 students” that were the primary culprits behind the chants. No disciplinary action has been announced with regards to the offending students.
Acting Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez also weighed in on the situation, saying on Wednesday that the chants are “unacceptable conduct.” Board of Education Chairwoman Julie Ausere said in a statement that “the actions were disrespectful to the opposing team and this does not reflect of the entire Canton community. Any divisive or mean-spirited behavior goes against our board of education values of collaboration, kindness and integrity.”