Some New York high school students who couldn’t handle a tough semifinal basketball loss took to Twitter to send racially insensitive tweets at the opposing school, leading to the suspension of three students and possibly several more.
According to CBS New York, on Thursday, Mahopac High School lost 43-40 to top-seeded Mount Vernon, which is made up mostly of black players. After the game, some Mahopac students posted hurtful comments, including these: “That’s why you shouldn’t let monkeys out of their cages #MtVernonZoo,” and “tough loss boys, but at least we can talk to our dads about it,” a reference to the widespread belief about absent black fathers.
Some students even went so far as to post photos of Confederate flags on their Twitter pages. CBS New York also reports that some students actually had those flags with them during the game.
“We cannot hide from racism,” Mount Vernon Interim Schools Superintendent Judith Johnson told CBS New York. “We have to confront it, we have to acknowledge it and we have to deal with it. It just reminded us once again that racial intolerance is still on the agenda,” Johnson said. “It’s often the elephant in the room.”
Johnson told the news station that she sent copies of the tweets to the state education commissioner. She also noted that some Mount Vernon players were even called racial slurs by opposing players during the game but didn’t take the bait.
“I call it grace under fire,” Johnson said. “They’re focused on trying to win their next game. Their goal is to get to the finals and win the state championship. But they were hurt.”
Mahopac’s coach, who is black, tweeted about the comments himself: “It’s great to cheer for your school but does not give u the right to say such hateful things. Makes it hard to coach there. #disappointed.”
Johnson has called for a meeting with principals and coaches from both schools, along with members from the state Department of Education, CBS New York reports.
Mahopac Central School District Superintendent Thomas Manko said that no players were involved in the tweets and that the comments and tweets do not reflect the school. He also said that the students involved would be disciplined.
“It’s a sad day when you can’t have a basketball game between two wonderful teams, and there isn’t some Twitter chatter after the game that is unacceptable to the district,” Manko said. “We’re still investigating. We need evidence. We take the allegation very seriously.”