Photo: Judy van der Velden (Flickr)
The Indiana High School Athletic Association is investigating a complaint from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis regarding negative racial behavior during a girls basketball game against Bedford North Lawrence Saturday.
The Indianapolis Star reports the complaint was filed in a letter by Lawrence North principal Brett Crousore:
In his letter, Crousore wrote that some members of the Bedford North Lawrence student section wore gorilla outfits and other students wore safari gear at the game. Those donning the gorilla costumes stood underneath the Lawrence North basket during warm-ups.
“Our assistant coach moved to stand between the BNL students and our players,” Crousore wrote. “After I addressed this issue with the BNL Athletic Director, at the beginning of first quarter, he did have the students remove the costumes. He seemed amazed that I did not approve.”
Bedford North Lawrence athletic director Jeff Callahan confirmed the students were asked to take off the gorilla costumes during the first quarter, but said the costumes were not racially motivated.
Bedford North Lawrence students claim they have been wearing the gorilla suits all season during games and that it was not meant to be a racial gesture toward the Lawrence North team, which is predominantly black.
Bedford North Lawrence Superintendent Gary Connor said in a statement:
“We take these complaints very seriously, and we will continue to closely monitor our student body’s behavior during events. We will not tolerate students or others representing our corporation who compromise the integrity of our school by engaging in racially insensitive behavior.”
IHSAA has not issued a statement on the complaint.