Catholic School In Elgin Disciplines Students Involved In Discriminatory Taunts At Girls' Basketball Game

Bernie Tafoya
December 20, 2019 - 2:05 pm
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ELGIN, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- An Elgin Catholic high school said discipline has been meted out after students displayed racist and body-shaming behavior at a girls’ basketball game. 

The girls’ basketball team at Bishop McNamara Catholic School in Kankakee traveled to St. Edward Central Catholic School in Elgin for the game. It was there at that the Bishop McNamara players were subjected to discriminatory taunts.

According to witnesses, some students at St. Edward Central Catholic School in Elgin made monkey sounds when one Bishop McNamara high school athlete had the basketball and whale sounds when another player had it. 

Related: Fans Shout Racist, Body-Shaming Taunts At Players During Catholic High School Girls’ Basketball Game

Alfred J.J. Hollis, an assistant football coach at Bishop McNamara, previously told CBS 2 that St. Edward's fans were way out of line.

“Every time she touched the ball, there were monkey sounds being made,” Hollis said. “Then when our other girl had the ball, there were whale sounds being made. They were body-shaming her.

“They were being bullied and antagonized the whole game. I just feel like that was unacceptable.”

Hollis said none of the offending students were removed from the game or otherwise told to stop.

Now, St. Edward principal Brian Tekampe said students responsible have been disciplined and the school is going to use the incident as a teaching moment.

In a statement issued on Thursday, St. Edward Supt. and Principal Brian Tekampe said: “The behavior of some individuals from our school at the St. Edward CCHS and Bishop McNamara girls’ basketball game was completely unacceptable and runs contrary to our belief and values. As a school, as a community, and as a Catholic faith, we condemn racism and discriminatory behavior against all people in any form.

“We want you to know that we understand the severity of the situation and intend to share with you our steps to ensure that something like this is never repeated. We have identified the individuals involved, and they have been disciplined as a result. They acknowledge the inappropriateness of their behavior, as well as the harm they have caused.

“While instruction on the dignity of all human persons in a staple of our Catholic curriculum we realize this situation calls for immediate enhancement. Therefore, all of our theology classes have revisited lessons on empathy and sensitivity.”

According to CBS 2, the school has also invited Deacon Art Miller to the school. Miller heads the Office for Black Catholic Ministries, and he will talk about his experiences growing up on the South Side in the 1940s and 50s, and his training in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolence philosophy. Miller is scheduled to speak at the school on Jan. 24, and the administration and students at Bishop McNamara have been invited for the event, “if they feel it would be beneficial,” Tekampe wrote.

“Together, we believe that our school communities can demonstrate the kind of openness, unity and progress possible – even under the most difficult circumstances – through meaningful atonement and sincere forgiveness,” Tekampe wrote.