MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The Catholic bishop in northern Indiana on Monday denounced students who waved a picture of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and shouted “build a wall” at opponents during a basketball game.
Diocese of Gary Bishop Donald J. Hying said in a statement that students from Andrean High School in Merrillville shouted at students from Bishop Noll Institute, a heavily Hispanic school in nearby Hammond, on Friday evening. Both are Catholic high schools.
Bishop Noll students shouted back, “You’re a racist,” The (Munster) Times reported (http://bit.ly/21E3oQ0 ).
The bishop said the incident is under investigation and that Andrean school administrators confiscated the “derogatory signage.”
“Any actions or words that can be perceived as racist or derogatory to others are antithetical to the Christian faith and will not be tolerated in any of our institutions,” Hying said. “It was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind that such actions would be happening at a gathering of two of our Catholic high schools. This is not what we teach our students.”
Officials from Bishop Noll, Andrean and the diocese met on Sunday to plan steps moving forward.
Andrean principal Rick Piwowarski said the school would “ensure that all of our students and staff understand their obligations of responsibility, acceptance and sportsmanship. We have, and continue to have, high expectations for all members of our school community.”
Bishop Noll principal Craig Stafford and school president Paul Mullaney said the incident could be “an unfortunate byproduct of irresponsible speech in today’s political arena.” Stafford and Mullaney said Bishop Noll is proud of its diversity.
“This is a teachable moment for everyone about responsible speech, social media and sportsmanship,” Stafford and Mullaney said in a message to the school community. “Bishop Noll will continue to educate our students in faith, social justice and to always respect all people, regardless of race, creed or socioeconomic status.”
A similar event happened at a high school in the Des Moines, Iowa, area last week when students from a largely white school chanted Trump’s name after their basketball team lost to a more diverse school.
Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com