22 February 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities high school says it will no longer compete with a south metro school after another alleged incident of student-athletes experiencing racism while playing there.
Andrew Ewald, the athletic director at St. Louis Park High School, wrote Monday to his counterpart at New Prague High School, saying that on Feb. 15 their boys hockey team was subjected to a “racist experience” while playing at New Prague.
Officials at the New Prague district responded to the letter, saying that the school does not tolerate hate speech by students or players.
“We We know the hurt this causes,” said Tim Dittberner, the district’s superintendent. “The incident was dealt with immediately. We sincerely apologize for this incident and make no excuses for the behavior. We are taking steps to work with our athletes, student body, staff and coaches so these types of incidents do not happen in the future. We will be sharing more specific information about these steps at a future date.”
The incident with St. Louis Park happened on the same day a coach for the Robbinsdale Cooper High School girls basketball team said his players were subjected to racist taunts while also playing against New Prague. Members in the audience allegedly made monkey sounds at the Cooper players, many of whom are Black.
Following the incident with the Robbinsdale girls team, officials in the New Prague district said they hired an outside firm to investigate, adding that if the accusations proved true, actions would be taken.
This alone was not enough to stop St. Louis Park from ceasing competition with New Prague, at least through the spring season.
In the letter, St. Louis Park’s athletic director said that there’ll be no games between the schools until “the harm that was caused is repaired and we are assured that any of our stakeholders, most importantly our students, will not be victimized by racism by any New Prague stakeholder in the future.”
Ewald said that St. Louis Park will remove the New Prague banner from its gymnasium until the harm is repaired and assurances are made to the school’s liking.
Ewald added: “As I said when New Prague High School was applying to the Metro West Conference, ‘I will not stand for your community and students to
have teachable moments at the expense of our students.’ Therefore, I will not tolerate or allow our students to further experience any racism while participating in athletics against New Prague High School.”