Managing misconducts: how MHS handles unsportsmanlike actions

Megan Burns, Print Editor-In-Chief

   It’s a Friday night football game and the sportsmanship statement is being read to the crowd: “Obscene, demeaning, or inappropriate cheers or taunts directed towards athletes, officials, or fans have no place in high school sports,” Commentator Thomas Kuhn said. 

   But what happens when foul behavior occurs at an MHS event?

   At the September 23 football game against Stevenson, inappropriate language from the Stevenson student section was directed towards the MHS band during pregame. According to Athletic Director Troy Parola, MHS administration “immediately attempted to identify the individual,” but was unable to that night.

   “I was in communication with both [Andy Sturgeon,] our band director, and the [Stevenson] Administration on Friday night, and followed up with both [Sturgeon] and the [Stevenson Administration] on Saturday morning to ensure that there would be a follow-up on the incident,” Parola said. 

   After back-and-forth communications with administration from both schools, a letter was sent home from Parola and Assistant Principal in Charge of Student Life Stevee Libert to “[MHS] band families explaining the incident.” 

   “We do not condone nor tolerate hate speech and take these situations seriously,” Parola said. “We are disappointed that this happened and want to see this type of behavior eliminated from all of our school and community events.”

   According to Dean of Student Discipline Emily Auston, there is an “intensive process” when dealing with hateful events in general. MHS partners with the police department to investigate the incident, student interviews are conducted and parents are notified throughout the investigation.

   Auston stated that “Mundelein prides itself on maintaining a supported and safe school environment.”

   Cultivating a “positive, supportive, and safe environment” at school events is “a right for all [MHS] students” that Principal Alexandria Rios Taylor will “continually work to protect.” 

   In a message communicated to MHS families, Taylor stated that “MHS does not tolerate derogatory language or hate speech of any kind,” and how “this behavior is inexcusable and will be met with disciplinary action as outlined in our student handbook.”

   “It deeply saddens me, both as a mother and as an educator who champions diversity, that some of our very own students endured hate speech on our campus,” Taylor stated in the message. “Although MHS is proud to be one of the pioneering districts to adopt a ‘Racial and Ethnic Equity Board Policy,’ this shows that there is still much work to do.”

   Taylor also stated that these kinds of incidents will be used as opportunities to continue partnering with agencies like the NAACP to “provide educational training for both students and staff.”

   “We take great pride and commitment to celebrating student diversity,” Taylor wrote. “We promise to continue to take appropriate action when faced with such injustices at MHS. We are proud of our school community and value ensuring that all students feel included and safe.