Connecticut Catholic school apologizes for anti-Semitic taunts during lacrosse state playoffs


(JTA) — A Catholic school in Connecticut apologized to a state public school after its students used anti-Semitic chants during a lacrosse state playoff game.

Religious leaders, representatives of the Anti-Defamation League and Fairfield College Preparatory School leaders met Tuesday to discuss the anti-Semitic taunting by the school’s students during the lacrosse game last week at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut.

During the May 30 game, fans seated in the Fairfield school’s student section chanted “Happy Hanukkah” and “We have Christmas” and sang “the Dreidel Song,” directed at Jewish players on the Staples High School team.

About one-third of the public school team is Jewish, according to local reports.


The superintendent of the Westport Schools, Colleen Palmer, told CBS in New York that she is upset that no one stepped in to stop the anti-Semitic behavior, especially the referees.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference told the CBS affiliate that there will be no discipline of the game’s referees, saying that while the referees have the authority to stop the game, it is up to designated school representatives to control their fans.

Fairfield Prep said in a statement that discipline will he handled internally.

The statement issued over the weekend and posted on the school’s Facebook page said that “the efforts of the student athletes were overshadowed by the behavior of some students in the Prep cheering section.”

Interscholastic competition is an important and typically uplifting dimension in the life of our school, reflecting the efforts of our student athletes and their coaches. It is not an occasion for boorish and offensive behavior that demeans the dignity of their opponents, their religious beliefs, or personal backgrounds.”

Responses to the stamen ranged from those who said that the community should “let boys be boys,” to those who called out the school for not specifically calling the unacceptable behavior anti-Semitism.

The Connecticut state legislature last month unanimously passed legislation that would require Holocaust and genocide education in state high schools starting with the coming school year.