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December 22, 2016 3:55 pm

‘Toxic, Negative Culture’ of Antisemitism Prompts Two Massachusetts High Schools to Cancel Hockey Season

avatar by Lea Speyer

Photo: Fanny Schertzer/Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: Fanny Schertzer/Wikimedia Commons.

Two Massachusetts high school hockey teams had their seasons abruptly terminated this week, after administrators uncovered what they called a “toxic and negative culture” of antisemitism among the players, local news station CBS Boston reported.

According to the report, the youths in question and their parents — from Framingham’s Marian High School and Keefe Technical High School — were informed of the decision on Monday in a letter, which highlighted a pattern of racist and antisemitic behavior by team members — for which several had been disciplined, costing both teams 19 games.

According to Keefe Tech Superintendent Jon Evans, an investigation — launched after complaints were received last Friday — “revealed a pervasive climate of disrespect that involved multiple student athletes from both schools. This behavior is inconsistent with the values of our school and expectations for our student athletes.” 

The schools, he said, will be “implementing an educational component for our students so that this will be a learning experience.” School officials have reached out to the local branch of the Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation League for assistance in this endeavor.

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Marian principal John Ermilio wrote to parents that players, when asked about antisemitic behavior, claimed it only came in the form of locker-room jokes.

“Behaviors such as these, even if intended to only be ‘locker room activity’ are in direct opposition to the mission statements of both Marian and Keefe,” he stated.

This isn’t the first time high school students in Massachusetts have been penalized for antisemitic behavior. In March — as The Algemeiner reported — kids from Catholic Memorial School were banned from attending a basketball game, after some of its students shouted, “You killed Jesus” to players from Newton North High School during an earlier competition.

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