BOSTON (CBS) – Catholic Memorial School administrators apologized after their student section chanted “You killed Jesus” at Newton North fans prior to a basketball playoff game Friday night.
Newton Superintendent David Fleishman said he was on his way to Friday’s South Division 1 boys basketball final when he received a call that Catholic Memorial students had participated in an offensive chant.
Fleishman said Catholic Memorial students had chanted “You killed Jesus” at Newton North’s crowd.
“As I walked in, a parent was shaken about what happened. I know there’s a lot of concern in the Newton North community,” Fleishman told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “She could not believe this was happening in 2016, to hear something so insensitive and so troubling.”
Administrators from Catholic Memorial immediately had students stop the chant, Fleishman said. Catholic Memorial went on to win the game, 77-73.
After the game, Catholic Memorial officials asked fans to apologize to Newton North’s interim principal. Fleishman said each student shook the principal’s hand.
“They were very apologetic. They said they would address the incident with their students on Monday,” Fleishman said.
On Saturday afternoon, Catholic Memorial School released a statement on the incident.
Catholic Memorial School is deeply disturbed by the behavior of a group of student spectators who made an unacceptable chant Friday night while playing Newton North High School.
CM faculty and staff acted immediately to stop the behavior. Administrators from both schools and representatives from the MIAA discussed the incident. At the conclusion of the game, CM students were reprimanded and each student personally apologized to the Principal of Newton North High School and shook his hand before leaving the arena.
We have been the subject of hurtful chants as well and we will work diligently within our own community and with other schools to end this abhorrent behavior. Catholic Memorial School believes deeply that intolerance, of any kind, is unacceptable. We apologize for the actions of our students and we will continue to strenuously address this issue within our community.
In addition to Catholic Memorial’s statement about the incident, the Archdiocese of Boston also reacted, calling the situation “unacceptable.”
“We are pleased that the administration of Catholic Memorial took corrective action immediately during and after the basketball game. This incident, while not representative of the school community, presents an opportunity to promote an important learning experience for the students,” the Archdiocese said.
“We stand ready to assist Catholic Memorial in providing the student body with the awareness education that is needed to ensure that there is no recurrence of these actions or attitudes.”
“A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY”
Fleishman said that, while he did not hear it, he was told that Newton North students were chanting “Where are you girls?” before Catholic Memorial fans responded with the chant that the superintendent said caused “real anger and outrage.”
Catholic Memorial, located in West Roxbury, is an all-boys Catholic school. Newton North High School has a large Jewish population.
The Newton superintendent admitted that “sometimes our kids can say crude things at sporting events,” but went on to say that “this one in particular is highly troubling given the connotation and given history.”
“I’m confident that the Catholic Memorial leadership will address this issue head on,” Fleishman said. “I look at this as a learning opportunity. Hopefully these students will never again engage in such insensitive behavior. Hopefully moving forward these students will understand the impact of their words and their actions on others.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports