FRANKLIN -- An investigation is underway into racial slurs chanted during a high school basketball game. Horlick High School players say Franklin High School students chanted slurs at them during a basketball game Thursday night, February 22nd.
The Horlick students took part in a previously planned rally on Friday, February 23rd. They used it as an opportunity to talk about what happened. They say they felt disrespected and hurt and now they want something to be done about it.
"I was shocked like, are you really doing this?" said Stephon Chapman, Horlick High School basketball player.
Horlick High School junior, Stephon Chapman, stood before about 50 other students at the rally. The varsity basketball players say racial slurs were directed at him during a game Thursday.
"I felt so disrespected out of what they had done," said Chapman.
The matchup was at Franklin High School. Chapman says chants began as he stood at the free throw line.
"As I was shooting, they started making the monkey noises and it like threw me like completely off. I was like they can't be making that at me," Chapman said.
"We all felt disrespected," said Marquise Milton, Horlick High Schol basketball player.
Teammates say they were horrified by what they felt was racism targeting them and they say it continued after the game.
"On our way to get on the bus, they were like 'get these (expletive) on the bus,' and we were like what? And he was like, 'you all heard me, get on the bus,'" said Chapman.
In a statement, Franklin public school leaders say one student was removed from Thursday's game. They continue to investigate, adding "complaints of this conduct are taken seriously..." -- and "any student who is found to have engaged in this conduct is subject do disciplinary action."
Read the full statement below:
February 23, 2018
Franklin High School administration is investigating a complaint that inappropriate and racist conduct occurred during a boys’ basketball game last night and have been in contact with Racine Horlick leadership today.
An administrator immediately responded to the spectator complaint and a student in question was removed from the gymnasium. This matter remains under investigation. Franklin Public Schools does not tolerate discriminatory or harassing conduct by students at school, at school sponsored activities and events, or otherwise. Complaints of this conduct are taken seriously and investigated as such. Any student who is found to have engaged in this conduct is subject to disciplinary action by the Franklin High School administration.
The following is the WIAA Sportsmanship statement that is read before Franklin High School home athletic events:
“This game is being played in accordance with Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Guidelines. The WIAA requires good sportsmanship by student athletes, coaches, and spectators at education based, interscholastic events. We request your cooperation by supporting the participants and officials in a positive manner. Profane, racial,sexist or ethnic comments or other intimidating actions directed at officials, student athletes, coaches or team representatives will not be tolerated and are grounds for removal from the site of competition. It is expected that all in attendance exhibit and promote good sportsmanship throughout this contest. Please cheer positively showing respect for the teams, coaches, officials, and event supervision staff.”
Students say they just want to bring attention to what happened, hoping it doesn't continue.
"This is the game I love and to hear that, it was just shocking," Milton said.
The Horlick athletes credit coaches for helping keep focused during the game. Meantime, you might remember a racist message was posted inside Franklin High School last month above a water fountain. One student was disciplined in that incident.