Students, parents, and faculty of Newton North High School were shocked when Catholic Memorial school members chanted, “you killed Jesus” at them during a basketball game.
Many people supporting Newton North high school during the game were Jewish. After the Newton high school students began a chant of, “where are your girls” to the all-boys Catholic school, members supporting the rival team shot back. Over 50 students of the Catholic school began to chant, “you killed Jesus” over and over again.
Newton’s Superintendent, David Fleishman, arrived at the high school basketball team twenty minutes after the incident and was immediately approached by a parent of one of his students.
“I found it chilling,” Fleishman told the Boston Globe. “In my mind, this is incredibly upsetting and troubling, and they have a lot of work to do at Catholic Memorial.”
Newton has been the site of some serious anti-Semitism in schools lately. There have been three publicized incidents of graffiti geared toward anti-Semitism. One of those incidents involved graffiti being written on the wall of the boy’s bathroom in F.A. Day Middle school. That graffiti read, “Burn the Jews.”
Those incidents are still being investigated, leaving the wounds of the anti-Semitism raw and unhealed. As a result the chants of, “you killed Jesus” hit harder than the students of the Catholic Memorial high school meant.
“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,” said Catholic Memorial School President Peter F. Folan in a statement according to the Boston Globe. “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.”
Fleishman contacted the Anti-Defamation League about the incident at Newton’s high school basketball game.
“To chant, ‘You killed Jesus,’ really brings it to another level,” Robert Trestan, of the Anti-Defamation League said according to WCVB. “It’s anti-Semitic. I was shocked and appalled.”
Trestan went on to say, according to the Boston Herald, “hate speech and taunting doesn’t have a role in the stands of any [ high school ] game.”
Other people at the basketball game on Friday were equally upset by the chanting. Several of them spoke to the Boston Globe about their feelings.
Catholic Memorial School has apologized after some of its students chanted 'you killed Jesus' during a game ... https://t.co/mIvbKguHRH— cousu main (@cousu_main) March 14, 2016
The captain of the Newton high school basketball team, Nate Hollenberg, is Jewish and was very upset by the severe chants.
“They might not have meant it so personally, but you should think about things before you speak,” Hollenberg said. “That hurts. They’re coming at my religion, at who I am, a big part of me. That’s just not right.”
Another high school student on the Newton North team, Doug Haslam, explained that everyone expects some chanting, but that the students of Catholic Memorial high school crossed a line.
“There’s a lot of rowdy, rambunctious, probably crude and obnoxious chants, but there’s usually a line, and students rarely cross it,” Haslam said. “When they do, there are repercussions.”
All the Catholic Memorial high school students involved in the chant were pulled from the stands and made to apologize personally to the Newton principal. They were also reprimanded by the school.
Credit to the CM administration absolutely scolding its fans. Made every fan apologize to the Newton North principal just now.
— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) March 12, 2016
The Archdiocese released a statement on Saturday that showed that they believe the actions of the Catholic high school students was unacceptable and stated that it was going to serve as a learning opportunity.
“We’re interested in working with [ each high school ] to make sure this doesn’t become a lost opportunity,” said Trestan. “This incident is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do, and we need to do it together.”
[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]