High school students taunt black, Latino basketball players with ‘Trump’ chants

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Officials from a Connecticut high school have apologized after students taunted members of an opposing basketball team with chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

A group of seven or eight Canton High School students directed the chants at members of Classical Magnet School during a conference playoff game on Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press. Canton is an affluent suburb of Hartford and the school is 84% white. Classical Magnet, by comparison, is in the city of Hartford and over 69% of its students are black or Latino.

The chants occurred “throughout the game” and also included chants of “he’s our president,” according the Hartford Courant.

“While students’ right to free speech and forming educated opinions about politics and current events is a cornerstone of our educational system, the exact point where political opinion converges with disrespect, discrimination or hate speech must be separated,” Canton High School principal Andrew DiPippo wrote in a letter to parents. “We have a reputation as a welcoming community and these students crossed this line with their comments and have damaged our reputation. As principal, I am disheartened that our message of community has not resonated with all students.”

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DiPippo and Canton residents sent apologies to Hartford school officials, according the Courant. Hartford acting superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez called the chants “unacceptable conduct.”

Similar incidents have occurred around the country since Donald Trump began his campaign for president. Students in Texas chanted “build a wall” during a volleyball game against a school near the Mexican border in November. Students from the wealthy Connecticut town of Wilton chanted the same phrase during a football game in November against Danbury, a city with a significant immigrant population. Other such incidents occurred last March in Indiana and in Wisconsin in April

Classical won Tuesday’s game by one point and will play for the conference championship on Friday. 

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