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High school basketball fans accused of racism for "USA" chant

San Antonio high school basketball turns ugly with racially charged "USA" chant
San Antonio high school basketball turns ugly with racially charged "USA" chant

(CBS) - A high school basketball celebration turned ugly in San Antonia after fans at the game reportedly began a racially charged chant. Against a team made up predominantly of Hispanic players, fans of Alamo Heights (Texas) High School started a chant that the opposing team found offensive. The chant was, "USA, USA!"

CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS has the story.

As KENS reports, Alamo Heights' celebration went sour a few minutes after the final whistle when certain members of the school's fan section began the "USA" chant. Alamo Heights boys basketball coach Andrew Brewer moved quickly to end the chanting, but the damage was already done. San Antonio (Texas) Edison High School - whose student body is 96 percent Hispanic - filed a complaint about the incident with the University Interscholastic League, the governing body of Texas public high school extracurricular activities.

"I appreciate Coach Brewer taking the action he took to stop it," San Antonio Independent School District athletics director Gil Garza told KENS. "Our kids try real hard and work extra hard to get to the regional tournament, and then we have to worry about them being subjected to this kind of insensitivity."

"To be attacked about your ethnicity and being made to feel that you don't belong in this country is terrible. Why can't people just applaud our kids? It just gets old and I'm sick of it. Once again, we're on pins and needles wondering what's going to happen."

The incident overshadowed what should have been a huge achievement for Alamo Heights. They earned their first berth in the state basketball tournament in 21 years after their 50-39 victory over Edison.

"Obviously we were disappointed that this happened," Alamo Heights superintendent Kevin Brown told KENS. "That's not who we are as a community and that's not who we are as a school. It's not something that's acceptable for us. Our kids are very respectable. We have to remember that they're teenagers, and kids make mistakes."

Brown adds that there will be "consequences" for students identified as participating in the chant. KENS reports that students tied to the chanting have already been banned from attending the team's state semifinal against Dallas (Texas) Kimball High on Thursday.

"We have tried to use this as a teachable moment for them," Brown said. "We have talked to our students. We've taken responsibility for it, although what happened is not representative of everybody who was there."

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