A group of students from Armstrong High School in western Pennsylvania are facing possible disciplinary action for directing a sexually vulgar chant toward a female ice hockey goalie during a game last week, the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Here's video of the chant. (Content warning: Sexually vulgar language):
In addition, all Armstrong students are banned from attending their school's ice hockey games after the incident during the Thursday contest with the Mars Hockey Club, the paper said.
Goalie left in tears
Mars coach Steve Meyers told the Post-Gazette his goalie was in tears after the second period; she has been the team's starter for all five of its games this season.
Armstrong principal Kirk Lorigan told the paper his school is “appalled and embarrassed” by what was heard from the student section at the Belmont Sports Complex in Kittanning, which is where Armstrong Junior/Senior High School is located. Kittanning is about 48 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh.
The player and her family declined to comment on the situation, according to the Post-Gazette, which is not naming the goalie.
More from the paper:
Meyers and Jeff Mitchell, president of the Mars hockey club, estimated that 50-60 Armstrong students sat together and acted in unison with the chants. A Post-Gazette reporter viewed video of the chants that are on social media.
Lorigan did not attend the game but said he was “disgusted” that no one — from Armstrong parents to two security personnel — did anything to stop the chants.
“We're continuing to investigate because there were several kids there, and we're still trying to identify them and who the ringleaders were for this,” Lorigan added to the Post-Gazette. “It's certainly an unfortunate and embarrassing situation. Armstrong High School has to identify those students and a decision will be made as to what the consequences will be. In my mind, this should've been stopped immediately by anyone that was there who has any moral value at all. I'm disgusted by it. … There were a lot of people there who could've handled this differently.”
Meyers told the paper the female player who endured the chants is the only goalie on Mars' roster.
“We have no one else. She plays varsity and JV for us,” he noted to the Post-Gazette. “We've had plenty of girls in this league before and never heard anything like this. With all the training we're required to do as coaches about safe sports and sportsmanship, this should not happen. For it to fail this badly, it's really disappointing.”
Lorigan spoke with Mars Area High School assistant principal Jessica Semler about the incident and apologized on behalf of Armstrong, the paper said, adding that Lorigan also offered a personal apology to the Mars goalie.
“On behalf of Armstrong and the student body, I apologize not just to the Mars player and the team, but to the whole Mars community,” Lorigan said, according to the Post-Gazette. “This is not what interscholastic sports are to be. We truly are disgusted by it and how it all went down. We will continue to do our best to change these behaviors. This should not happen to anyone, anywhere, in any school district in the United States.”
Armstrong is 3-0 this season and defeated Mars, 7-4, the paper said, adding that Mars is 0-5.
John Mucha, commissioner of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, watched video of the chants and called them “disgusting,” the Post-Gazette reported.
“The game should've been stopped until the behavior stopped or the fans were escorted out of the building,” Mucha added to the paper.
Mitchell told the Post-Gazette he spoke with security personnel — who are employed by the sports complex — following the game.
“As much as I wanted to push back right during the game, that might have escalated things and made it worse,” Mitchell noted to the paper. “You never know what might happen in today's society. … I'm so displeased that no one from Armstrong, not a parent or board member, spoke up to say to those students, ‘You're going over your boundaries.'”
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