The Holy Spirit High School in Atlantic County, New Jersey, is under fire after costumes worn by students at a high school basketball game are having many call the school racist. The costumes, a monkey suit and a banana, were worn by two students and used to distract or taunt members of the opposing team from a predominately black school.
NBC Philadelphia reported that the students, whose names have not been released, from Holy Spirit High School wore the monkey and banana costumes to distract the opposing players during free throws. Some are saying it’s just school spirit, but others are claiming the moves to be racially-charged.
It was a skit performed in the Holy Spirit student section and there were other students dressed as a bumblebee and a cowgirl. The skit was caught on video, as well.
Many are not happy and some that attended the match-up between Holy Spirit and Atlantic City High School are speaking out about it.
“I absolutely think it was offensive,” said Ricardo Belgrave as he left Friday night’s match up against the two teams.
“You should know when you’re putting that costume on, it should come in your mind that this might offend African-American people.”
Jermaine Baskerville said that some of the students were “just being silly” when wearing the costumes. He thinks that some parents or school officials should have intervened when they saw the costumes though.
Others don’t believe the costumes had any ill intentions at all.
“To me it was harmless kids pranks, you know. I didn’t see any racial overtones to anything,” said Jack Versput.
The Daily Mail reported that the boys in the monkey and banana costumes hid behind shower curtains and then would jump out to try and scare the opposing players. As the students walked in with the costumes on, no-one was said to have tried to stop or question them.
“These two students were allowed to walk into the gym in these costumes and with this shower curtain,” he said. “What were the adults thinking? Where were the refs?”
Jay Connell, Holy Spirit athletic director, said that he is “not going to kick anyone out of school or whip anybody.” He said there “is no punishment” and that all he could “do is apologize.” Connell said he will make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Atlantic City High School went on to defeat Holy Spirit High School by a score of 54-53, so the costumes didn’t really work in gaining a sporting advantage. Still, the monkey and banana costumes may have caused much more damage that still is to come.
[Image via NBC 10]