(BEDFORD) - Earlier this week, school officials with Bedford North Lawrence learned about two complaints registered by school officials at Lawrence North concerning student behavior at last weekend's IHSAA Semi-state event.
The first complaint was registered when school officials with Lawrence North spoke to the Bedford North Lawrence High School Athletic Director during the opening portion of the game about two students in the student section who were wearing gorilla costumes.
"As soon as our athletic director was informed that their presence was offensive to Lawrence North, he immediately addressed the complaint by having the students to remove the costumes," Superintendent Gary Conner wrote in a press release. "The costumes were not racially motivated. However, in retrospect, we understand that this was offensive to fans from Lawrence North, and we sincerely apologize."
The second complaint indicated that the Bedford North Lawrence High School student body had a "safari" game theme "to capture the Wildcats," Lawrence North's mascot. As part of the game theme, students dressed up in safari costumes.
"In retrospect, we understand that this theme was offensive to the Lawrence North High School community," Conner wrote. "We are in the process of communicating with school officials at Lawrence North to appropriately address their concerns. We respect our sister school in Class 4A competition.
Conner says the complaints are serious and that school official will continue to closely monitor student body's behavior during events.
"We will not tolerate students or others representing our corporation who compromise the integrity of our school by engaging in racially insensitive behavior," Conner wrote. "As a school, we never want our reputation to be less than competitive and congenial. We never want our opposing teams to feel less than appreciated, valued and respected. We never want anyone to feel unwelcome. As we reach for the stars, the journey is enjoyed by those we entertain in competition. We appreciate Lawrence North. They are a great team and a class act. We are very disappointed that this incident has detracted from a great tournament game between two very competitive and quality schools."
Have a question or comment about a news story? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org