During a high school basketball game in Ohio on Friday, students began shouting racist chants directed towards members of the opposing team, Cincinatti.com reports.
The behavior was caught on film; at one point, students sitting in the Elder High School cheering section began chanting "P.F. Chang" at Nate Stockman, a multiracial student playing for St. Xavier, the opposing school. It didn't end there, either.
"It was 'Hey No. 2, open your eyes,'" Stockman's mother, Susan Stockman, told Cincinnati.com. "'Hey, No. 2 can you open them bigger?' Then when he went to do his free throws they started yelling 'USA, USA.'"
Bobby Jefferson, an African American player on St. Xavier's team, was reportedly also targeted with racially motivated chanting. Jefferson's mother, Mina Jones Jefferson, says that she was shocked by the "seemingly tacit" approval by adults in the cheering section.
"I was flabbergasted and flummoxed," she said, adding, "It was the entire student section. It was the enormity of it. Occasionally, there may be an individual who might say something over the years — this was the entire section."
Elder Principal Kurt D. Ruffing apologized for the actions of his students in a press release issued on Tuesday, as well as in a private email to at least two parents of St. Xavier players.
"Elder High School sincerely apologizes for the remarks made by its student section and for the severe lack of respect displayed by its students toward the St. Xavier basketball team, its coaching staff, the opposing student section, and all the fans, family members, and alumni of both schools," the statement reads in part. "This type of behavior is not condoned at Elder, nor is it indicative of the lessons taught and learned in our classrooms, hallways, and on our fields of play, and it will not be tolerated. We promise to do better in order to reestablish your trust in us as we continue committing ourselves to preparing our students for life after high school."
Earlier that day, Ruffing, who was not present at the game, held an assembly to address the incident with students. He also says that he plans to take a group of students to St. Xavier on Thursday to apologize for Friday's events.
Said Ruffing to WCPO, "What we did was wrong, and we will not do it again."