The principal at Andrean High (Merrillsville, Ind.) said he has met with officials from the Diocese in Gary, Ind., and Bishop Noll (Hammond) to come up with a plan following allegations of taunts based on race during the Catholic Cup boys basketball game between the schools Friday.
As reported by USA TODAY High School Sports on Saturday morning, the use of a Donald Trump Fathead and a sign that read ESPN Deportes in the student section at Andrean High (Merrillville, Ind.) were used to taunt Bishop Noll, which has a largely Latino student population.
A report from the Times of Northwest Indiana indicated that both student sections were involved in the taunting.
The taunt from the Andrea section included “Speak English” and “Build a wall.” According to reports, those chants were answered with “we’re bilingual” and “you’re a racist. The report also indicated that Andrean students responded by pointing to the African-American students in their own section and the Noll students yelled back, “you’re a token.”
A Facebook post by Ashley Howard, whose cousin plays for Noll and is a volleyball coach at a high school in the area, exploded over the weekend.
Andrean officials, who have not responded to requests for comment since Saturday, sent a letter from principal Rick Piwowarski to Andrean parents on Sunday night.
As many of you are aware, during the Andrean/Bishop Noll Catholic Cup basketball game on Friday there was behavior reported in the news that is not consistent with the expectations we hold for our students. The rivalry between the two schools stems from years of history and healthy competition. Unfortunately, some students in our “Super Fan” section engaged in behavior that was emotionally charged and inappropriate. As soon as administrators were made aware of such activities, actions were taken to stop such taunts and confiscate items from the student section.
At Andrean, we take very seriously the allegations that members of the public have placed on our shoulders. Those allegations are inconsistent with our school’s mission as well as the proven reputation of compassion and service that Andrean has offered Northwest Indiana for over fifty years.
This afternoon, I, along with Mr. Henwood, met with officials from the Diocese and Bishop Noll to draft a plan for moving forward. As an institution of Catholic education, we view this challenge as an opportunity to remind our students and staff of their call to bring glory to God while serving His people with love, compassion, and mercy.
We will be taking steps within our halls, in conjunction with the Diocese of Gary and Bishop Noll, to ensure that all of our students and staff understand their obligations of responsibility, acceptance and sportsmanship. We have, and will continue to have, high expectations for all members of our school community. At times, we fall short of meeting those expectations. However, we will repair damage done and continue to strive for excellence.
“ The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Together, we will overcome this darkness and the light of Christ, our authentic teacher, will shine and guide us in His ways.
In Christ, our Savior,
Andrean High School”