The Elkhorn Area School District in Wisconsin is investigating claims of racially charged taunts made by a group of its students that were directed at soccer players from Beloit Memorial High School, WISC-TV reports.
The incident unfolded Thursday night when the Beloit girls varsity soccer team visited Elkhorn. Beloit girls soccer coach Brian Denu said that the Elkhorn students began to target black and Latina girls on his team, using racial slurs and chanting things like, "Donald Trump, build that wall."
"Those are just words you'll never be able to take back from those kids and an experience that you wish you could take back," Denu told the news station. "It was really disturbing for them."
At some point, the fed-up and distraught Beloit players walked off the field.
"They came off the field and weren't able to finish the game because they were too upset and distraught over what happened to them," Denu said. "One of the girls was cradled in the arms of one of our assistant coaches for a good 15 to 20 minutes."
Denu said that even though a small group of Elkhorn students were behind the racially charged taunts, the comments still had a huge effect on his team.
"I could just see the hurt and pain on their face and know that this was obviously something that they hadn't seen before," Denu said. "You know, it was from a small pocket of the Elkhorn fans, but those words are things you can't take back.
"As a white male, I can't tell them I know [what] this is like, I know how you feel, because that's never happened to me," he added. "But I wanted them to know that we were there to support them, we were there to fight for them and we're going to get through everything together."
Denu also wants Elkhorn students to understand how painful their taunts were.
"I'd like them to just kind of take in what they said, think about their words before they say them. My guess is that they're good kids that have some really bad ideas in their head," Denu said. "But those were hurtful, and words that you say can last with people for a very, very, very long time.
"Seeing the impact on those kids is something I'll never forget as a coach," he continued. "It's 2016. You think that you know that people don't have these views."
On Saturday, Elkhorn District Administrator Jason Tadlock told the station that he was aware of the incident and that school officials were looking into the matter.
"We have confirmed that some students near the sidelines yelled inappropriate or offensive comments toward some of the players, and a student or two from the student section," Tadlock said. "Our investigation is ongoing, and I would be happy to comment further once it is completed."
Read more at WISC-TV.