The Storm Lake Tornadoes went to Spencer, Iowa last Friday to play some basketball and were taunted with racist chants, a report says. It’s not the first time Storm Lake’s kids have heard them. They’re from one of Iowa’s few schools with a student body that’s mostly non-white.
Many of the Spencer students dressed in red, white, and blue and chanted “U-S-A”, waved their keys and shouted “lock your car”, and reportedly shouted “go back where you came from,” the superintendents of both schools confirm. That latter chant is the same one Spencer’s kids shouted at Storm Lake players during a football game last fall.
Spencer superintendent Terry Hemann invoked a common phrase when he talked to the Des Moines Register.
“This isn’t what Spencer or Spencer schools are about. It’s not what we believe in,” Hemann said. “We had some students that made some poor decisions and we’re using this as a learning opportunity and making better choices at the next opportunity.”
“To take the time and to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is something kids are learning, and hopefully we’re teaching that,” Hemann said.
Storm Lake’s principal said the game was happening on Spencer’s “USA Night” and thinks maybe the chants weren’t directed at Storm Lake’s players, and that some parents didn’t seem too upset by the evening.
“We’re different than other communities in northwest Iowa and most communities in Iowa,” Storm Lake Superintendent Carl Turner told the Register. “Because we’re different, people jump to conclusions about us, but all I ask people is give us a chance before you pass judgment.”