When students at Ohio’s North High School in Eastlake, Ohio, began taunting their football team’s opponents with a “power blue faggots” cheer (a nod to the color of Willoughby South’s uniforms), Principal Jennifer Chauby (pictured) insists she “was at the game and heard the students chanting in the stands. The assistant principal and I stopped it immediately.” The clip of the chant is only 30 seconds, so maybe Chauby did step in to stop it! Except student Heather Ike, who originally uploaded the clip to YouTube, noted, “No teachers or parents from the sidelines intervened to stop the problem, and this chant occurred 3 times in the first 3 minutes of the game.” Okay then. But now that the game is over (the Rangers lost), how is Principal Chauby handling the aftermath? By not suspending anyone.
Because there were too many kids shouting the cheer. And even though Chauby has identified many of the students in the video, it’s not like she can suspend the entire school, or something.
Chauby said that a number of students admitted that they were just following everyone else and that they didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. Chauby also said that she didn’t see what good would come from suspending about 300 students. “What the students learned is a life lesson,” Chauby said. “This is an opportunity to learn from a mistake.”
But they will be punished. Somehow!
Superintendent Keith Miller said he is disgusted and this behavior will not be tolerated. He attended the game, but missed the pregame and didn’t hear the students. “We will take disciplinary action against those students,” he said.
And everybody is at least getting a talking to.
South High Principal Paul Lombardo said Chauby and Willoughby-Eastlake administrators are doing their best to get rid of negativity at games. “The administrators are on the sidelines by the student section,” he said. “We do our best to put a stop to inappropriate actions we see or hear from students. We have asked kids to leave the game.”
Chauby said there was general announcement made on Monday to the student body stating she was disappointed in their behaviors. She has been meeting with students to identify those who were chanting, however, her main goal is to educate. “It’s important to educate students on how hurtful that term is to so many people,” she said. “Every student I spoken to didn’t realize the gravity of that word.”
[Superintendant Keith] Miller said the school plans to hold an assembly, and Chauby will continue to talk to students in groups or one-on-one. “The student body has taken notice (of their actions),” he said. “The students said they didn’t mean anything negative by the chant.” Chauby said the school has groups in place that deal with issues of bullying. “The school has a gay-straight alliance group that meets after school,” she said. “We also have an anti-bullying program we started to address any issues students been having because of race, orientation, ethnicity, or status in school. We hope that has helped open the lines of communication to address those needs.”
“Didn’t mean anything negative by the chant?” Is this man kidding himself? They meant to taunt the other team. By using a word that marginalizes an entire class of students. Would the response be different if they screamed “powder blue niggers” or “powder blue kikes”? I believe so.
Chauby says the chant is nothing new — it began several years ago, but it hadn’t resurfaced (to her knowledge) until this game. And when parents wonder why their complaints about bullying fall on the deaf ears of administrators, it’s because of people like Chauby, happily in the dark about what’s going on inside their own schools.
Meanwhile, the original YouTube video was pulled, but we’ve got a copy here:
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