Complaints of racially targeted behavior cause IHSAA investigation

The IHSAA is looking into complaints against Bedford North Lawrence after an opposing team accused fans of wearing gorilla costumes in a racially targeting way. Bedford North Lawrence is slated to play Penn High School in the girls Class 4A State Championship game.

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 7:16 p.m.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association has started an investigation after complaints of racial targeting surfaced following the Lawrence North and Bedford North Lawrence semi-state girls basketball game on Tuesday, March 4, as reported by IndyStar.com.

Crowd members representing Bedford Lawrence North are accused of dressing in gorilla costumes and safari gear and standing underneath the Lawrence North hoop during warmups. The Lawrence North girls basketball team is composed of all black players while the Bedford North Lawrence team is predominantly white, the IndyStar.com reports

Bedford North Lawrence won the semi-state game and will face Penn High School's Lady Kingsmen at the State Championship in Terre Haute on Saturday, March 8.

In a letter obtained by The Indianapolis Star, Lawrence North's principal wrote that several issues should be addressed, including the display's racial implications and the lack of action by officials.

Bedford North Lawrence Athletic Director Jeff Callahan told the IndyStar.com that students were asked to take off the gorilla costumes during the first quarter, but said the costumes were never meant to be racially motivated.

"The safari was a theme because we were going after Wildcats," said Callahan, referring to Lawrence North's nickname. "Those (gorilla suits) had been worn at games throughout the year..."

Indianapolis radio station 1310 AM The Light has posted several commentaries on its website calling incident, among other things, "naked racism" and a "a display of outrageous bigotry."

You can find more posts from The Light here and here.

You can find the full IndyStar.com report here, including more details from North Lawrence Athletic Director Jeff Callahan and what action, if any the IHSAA might make. 


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