'Degrading' Chant Taints Arundel-Severna Park Basketball Game: Reports

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A "culturally demeaning and degrading" chant broke out during Friday’s varsity boys basketball game between the Arundel High School Wildcats and the Severna Park High School Falcons. The two schools are shown here. (Google Maps; Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

SEVERNA PARK, MD -  A "culturally demeaning and degrading" chant broke out during a recent Arundel at Severna Park varsity boys basketball game, reports said.

The Severna Park High School student section started the chant when a visiting Arundel player went to the free-throw line in the second half of Friday's game. 

An investigation found nine students involved. They are being disciplined accordingly.

Severna Park High School Principal Lindsay Abruzzo sent a letter to families on Monday "to condemn [the chant] in the strongest possible terms." Abruzzo did not say exactly what the chant was, but Arundel Principal Gina Davenport told The Capital it was directed at Black players.

"There is no excuse for this type of behavior at our athletics contests or anywhere else in a school setting," Abruzzo said in a copy of the letter obtained by Eye On Annapolis. "It is simply unacceptable. We must do better."

Abruzzo added that she attended the Arundel boys basketball practice on Monday and "offered a personal apology on behalf of our entire student body and our school." 

"I wanted the team’s players to hear directly from me how abhorrent I believe the behavior of our students was and what has been done since Friday," Abruzzo said in the letter.

Davenport told The Capital the apology was sincere and a welcome surprise.

"Unfortunately, for some students, the comments that were made Friday have become normal; apologies [are] less normal," Davenport told The Capital. "Hopefully, over time, we can change that."

Abruzzo asked families to talk with their students and report any information they have.

"This type of behavior will not be tolerated at any level," Abruzzo said in the letter. "Should this type of behavior occur again, the contest in progress will be stopped and all students will be removed from the gym before the contest will resume. There will be no refunds issued and students found to be in violation of behavior unbecoming of a spectator will not be allowed to attend any further games this season."

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