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Chants target Brighton player
Pittsford, N.Y. --- A chant led by a fan at a high school basketball game included targeting an opposing teams player with a racial stereotype.
It happened on Friday at Pittsford-Sutherland High School during a varsity basketball game against Brighton. A short video clip where the chant can be heard was posted to YouTube.
The Brighton player who was targeted was attempting a free throw shot at the time. A group of fans off-camera can be heard screaming We want Slurpees! followed by rhythmic claps.
By all accounts, the chant targeted the players heritage and played on a stereotype about people who own and operate 7-11 convenience stores that serve Slurpee drinks.
On Monday, school officials from both Brighton and Pittsford acknowledged the incident and briefed the media about the situation. The fan responsible for leading the chant was the leader of a school sanctioned group known as the Pittsford Super Fans. The group regularly attends school events and its leader is chosen by the school and in a leadership position according to Pittsford Superintendent Mike Pero.
Pero said it was a safe assumption that that boy was no longer leading the Super Fans group. He said a faculty member intervened promptly once the chant was heard and the student was removed from the gym. The discipline process for that student began immediately and school leaders are continuing to discuss if students who echoed that chant should face discipline.
"We're trying to find that balance between appropriately disciplining someone who was in a leadership role and finding a way to find the right type of discipline for those who were in the follower-type role, said Pero on Monday afternoon.
Pero said the important thing in any discipline decision is, that the boy that was at the foul line would know and feel a little better that the student at Pittsford did not mean harm.
Pero said the Pittsford student authored a heartfelt apology over the weekend that was shared with the Brighton School District.
13WHAM News was unable to contact the student who was the target of the chant.
"It's my understanding that he carried himself with great dignity and grace and continued to play basketball, explained Brighton School Superintendent Kevin McGowan. He really focused on the task at hand (and) seemed to be aware certainly that it happened, but was focused on the game.
Citing privacy reasons, neither district would publicly discuss what disciplinary actions would be taken or considered.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM SCHOOL DISTRICTS:
We were very disappointed to learn of this incident. We have been working with our colleagues in both districts throughout the weekend to address intolerant and unacceptable fan behavior. That work continues today. The students involved took full responsibility for their behavior, and attempts are being made to right this wrong between the students and to address the long- term learning that can arise from the disappointing behaviors of a few.
---Kevin McGowan , Ed.D., Superintendent , Brighton Central Schools
---Mike Pero, Superintendent, Pittsford Schools