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MSHSL responds to recent reports of racism at school sporting events

Feb 25, 2022 05:17AM ● By Editor
Photo: KARE 11 News

By Alexandra Simon of KARE 111 News • February 24, 2022

In the wake of several reports of racism at school sporting events, the Minnesota State High School League announced it's launching a new initiative to address "improve behavior at high school events."

The pillars of the MSHSL's plan include recruiting student groups to create a model code of conduct for all schools, organizing a conference with leaders in student athletics and other activities to raise awareness about bullying, gender, race and other issues, and providing additional resources to schools and staff to help them better address harmful behavior.

"Racial, religious, or sexual harassment is simply unacceptable in our schools. The goal of safe, supportive school environments is of paramount importance," the MSHSL said in a statement. "It is essential that every effort be made, and action is taken to ensure that all students have a safe environment in which to learn and participate in activities."

You can read the full statement here.

Hours after the MSHSL came out with their update, the Prior Lake High School girls basketball coaching staff announced that the team is forfeiting its final regular season game and first round of the playoffs after a teammate found a racist note in her bag.

According to school administration, police have been involved and investigators are looking at cameras and conducting interviews to try and determine who wrote the "disgraceful and hurtful message."

We are deeply saddened and distraught over yet another racial incident that occurred within the PLHS community," the school said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to the victim, her family, and all of our BIPOC students and athletes as we continue to work toward an environment of equity and inclusion."

Although not related to sports, two other racist videos involving students at Prior Lake High School prompted investigations in November and December. The first of the two videos, which targeted a 14-year-old freshman, prompted students to walk out class in protest.

In New Prague, members of the visiting Robbinsdale Cooper High School girls varsity basketball team were subjected to racist comments from students and adults at the game on Feb. 15. According to Robbinsdale Area Schools Superintendent David Engstrom, New Prague fans made "monkey noises" directed at the team.

On Feb. 23, the district announced it would no longer participate in any athletic activities with New Prague High School. A similar incident happened at a boys hockey game between New Prague and St. Louis Park. According to Andrew Ewald, athletic director for St. Louis Park High School, at their Feb. 15 game New Prague players allegedly called a St. Louis Park player a monkey and used other racist references. St. Louis Park has also opted to stop competing with New Prague.

New Prague's superintendent Tim Dittberner issued a statement apologizing for the racist incidents, saying in part, "We sincerely apologize for this incident and make no excuses for the behavior. We are taking steps to work with our athletes, student body, staff and coaches so these types of incidents do not happen in the future."

At Minnetonka High School, the head coach of the girls basketball team announced she would step down after allegations of racism among players on the team surfaced.

To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the KARE 11 News website.

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