GOP presidential candidate and world class bigot, Donald Trump, isn’t just brainwashing adults with his fear-mongering and anti-immigrant stance — he is also influencing American youth.
A group of Indiana high school students allegedly held up a sign of Trump’s face while chanting “build a wall!” at Latino basketball players from a rival school on Friday.
The Andrean High School students wore red, white and blue as they proclaimed their support for Trump’s proposed immigration policy to build an “impenetrable” wall at the southern U.S. border.
While the insensitive, misguided students claim they meant no harm by the stunt, Bishop Knoll Institute — the school they were playing against— released a statement saying they are taking the matter very seriously.
"Perhaps last night's incident was an unfortunate byproduct of irresponsible speech in today's political arena," the school said in its statement.
The Andrean principal also released a statement distancing the school from the students’ behavior by claiming it was “not consistent with the expectations we hold.”
An almost identical incident occurred in Iowa. Students chanted “Trump” and "U.S.A” at Latino players during a basketball game just last week.
These events are extremely disturbing and it’s even stranger that these students weren’t asked to leave, nor did they have their sign confiscated.
While everyone is well aware of the right to free speech, this type of rhetoric translates into hate speech and shouldn’t be tolerated in a space that should be promoting inclusion.
Ashley Howard, a fan who attended the game to support her cousin who plays for Bishop Knoll eloquently stated:
"I understand they're kids. You expect them to make mistakes. Maybe they didn't know how far to push the envelope because they are rival schools, but that's what the administration is for and that's where the administration is supposed to step in and say, 'hey kids, that's not ok.'"
Several players from both teams reportedly said they did not hear the chants because they were focused on the game — which is actually common in sports — as players are instructed to block out jeering from spectators.
However, offensive language and unsportsmanlike conduct doesn’t just affect the players. Parents, fans, and classmates of Latino descent may very well take offense to that type of “joke.”
When a group of people’s quality of life is being threatened, it isn’t really a laughing matter. Just because no one made a scene during the game and everyone remained cordial, doesn’t mean that no one was offended.
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Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts