(JTA) — A Boston-area Catholic boys’ school apologized after some of its students chanted an anti-Semitic taunt at a basketball game with a predominantly Jewish area high school.
“You killed Jesus,” students from Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, shouted Friday night during a basketball game with Newton North High School.
Following the chant, the Newton fans fell silent in shock and anger, the Boston Globe reported.
The city of Newton, a suburb of Boston, is about one-third Jewish.
“Catholic Memorial School is deeply disturbed by the behavior of a group of student spectators who made an unacceptable chant Friday night while playing Newton North High School,” said Catholic Memorial President Peter F. Folan in a statement Saturday. “Catholic Memorial School believes deeply that intolerance, of any kind, is unacceptable. We apologize for the actions of our students and we will continue to strenuously address this issue within our community.”
The students from Catholic Memorial were reprimanded and each personally apologized to the principal and shook his hand, according to the Globe.
Newton Superintendent David Fleishman, who arrived after the anti-Semitic chants, but who learned about them from parents in the stand, called the statement “chilling.”
“In my mind, this is incredibly upsetting and troubling, and they have a lot of work to do at Catholic Memorial,” Fleishman told the Boston Globe.
Fleishman said he contacted the Anti-Defamation League about the incident, which Newton students would discuss it at school on Monday. The ADL said it would work with both schools in the wake of the incident.
Fleishman also acknowledged that the Newton students made offensive statements about the fact that there are no girls attending Catholic Memorial.
Catholic Memorial beat Newton North 77-73, in what was a division championship game.
Friday’s chant came one day after Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, speaking at Temple Emanuel in Newton, called for both Catholics and Jews to “build a civilization of love.”
In a statement issued on Saturday, the archdiocese called the chant “unacceptable,” and said the incident presented an opportunity to promote “an important learning experience” for the students, the Boston Globe reported.
Anti-Semitism has been on the mind of the parents of children in the Newton school system, after the revelation that there were at least three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti at the F.A. Day Middle School in Newton, and that parents were not notified promptly of the first two incidents.