A Wisconsin high school boys’ basketball playoff game last week was marred by accusations of racism and anti-Semitism, according to parents of players on one of the teams.
Beloit Memorial High School played Muskego High School in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 1 Regional Semifinals.
Players at the Beloit Memorial found drawings of swastikas, the N-word and the word ‘monkey’ on top of the lockers, according to to FOX 6. Parents also filmed Muskego students wearing black face masks and tank tops, allegedly trying to portray a black person.
«This is 2023. They were chanting the N word and ‘monkey,’ and they were making monkey noises,» Tanya Karl, mother of a Beloit Memorial basketball player, told the station.
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Other Beloit parents alleged that Muskego fans were pretending to smoke «blunts,» according to the Beloit Daily News. Spectators told the newspaper that some fans were thrown out of the game.
The Muskego-Norway School District issued a statement Sunday about the incident.
«On Friday night, Muskego High School hosted a contest against Beloit Memorial High School. Following the conclusion of the game, MHS administration received an email from the Beloit Memorial Athletic Director indicating concerns regarding the issue of student section and the racist images traced in the dust on top of the gym lockers. We were deeply disappointed and saddened by the information shared,» the statement posted on Facebook read.
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«Student safety is our number one priority and we work to ensure that students have a positive and rewarding experience while competing in a safe environment. We take reports of this nature very seriously and immediately began the investigation with the support of the Department of Muskego Police. The active investigation continues and includes working with Beloit administrators, interviewing students, reviewing the recorded event, and evaluating the school environment. Consequences for inappropriate actions will be immediate.
«We sincerely apologize for any behavior that occurred that night that does not represent the values of Muskego High School or the Muskego-Norway community. Additionally, we are wholeheartedly dedicated to improving processes that will ensure our commitment to providing an environment that meet the expectations of our community and demonstrate respect for others.»
The WIAA sets rules for fair play on its website.
“Intercollegiate athletics must be held on a moral and educational platform. Each student athlete must be able to compete in a climate of respect, free from threats, fear, intimidation and harassment, ”reads part of the rules.
«Harassment is behavior directed at a person’s sex, race, religion, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or disability that substantially interferes with with a student’s school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment. Harassment can be verbal, nonverbal, or physical acts during athletic competition.»
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Kevin Zimmerman, a member of the Muskego-Norway School Board, told TMJ4 that «strict discipline» will be removed after an investigation confirms reports from parents.