Superintendent: St. Edward students disciplined for racist taunts, body shaming at game

  • Brian Tekampe, now the superintendent and principal of St. Edward Catholic High School in Elgin, here in a 2016 picture when he was principal of St. Gilbert Catholic School in Grayslake.

    Brian Tekampe, now the superintendent and principal of St. Edward Catholic High School in Elgin, here in a 2016 picture when he was principal of St. Gilbert Catholic School in Grayslake. Submitted picture

  • Craig Anderson, executive director of the Illinois High School Association

    Craig Anderson, executive director of the Illinois High School Association Courtesy of the Illinois High School Association

 
 
Updated 12/19/2019 6:36 PM

St. Edward High School Superintendent/Principal Brian Tekampe said Thursday students who participated in racist and body-shaming chants during a girls basketball game last weekend have admitted their inappropriate behavior and been disciplined.

Officials from Bishop McNamara High School said the behavior was on display Saturday during the varsity game in Elgin. Some students in the St. Edward fan section were yelling comments throughout the game, including making animal noises directed at two Bishop McNamara players.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We are incredibly disappointed in the reports that we received from the participating schools and game officials regarding the fan behavior at the girls basketball game hosted by St. Edward High School Dec. 14," Illinois High School Association Executive Director Craig Anderson told The Daily Herald in an emailed statement.

"The behavior of some individuals from our school at the 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," Tekampe said.

"It is our responsibility to communicate openly and honestly with our communities, as well as the individuals hurt by this incident. To the athletes, coaches, administration, students, and parents of Bishop McNamara, we would like to reiterate our most sincere apologies. 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," Tekampe added.

"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.

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"We also realize our responsibility as educators to extend the valuable lessons of kindness, empathy and sensitivity to our entire school community. While instruction on the dignity of all human persons is 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," Tekampe continued.

"We have invited Deacon Art Miller to share his message of social injustice with our school -- both from his personal experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s and his training in Dr. Martin Luther King's nonviolence philosophy. We've encouraged our pastors to incorporate these lessons into their sermons, our teachers to reinforce these values in the classroom and our families to continue to lead these conversations at home.

"We have extended an invitation to the administration and students from Bishop McNamara to join us when Deacon Miller speaks to our school community Jan. 24, if they feel it would be beneficial."

Bishop McNamara's principal Terry Granger, who could not be reached Thursday, previously told ABC-7 he doesn't think St. Edward's administrators did enough to stop the fan behavior, noting that none of the offending fans were removed from the gymnasium.

"We appreciate that the administration at St. Edward is taking the incident seriously, and responding accordingly," the IHSA's Anderson said.

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