St. Louis Park High School says it will no longer compete against New Prague High School after a racist incident during a boys hockey game last week.
A St. Louis Park hockey player told Bring Me The News at least two New Prague players called a member of the St. Louis Park team a "monkey" and told him to "go back to the 1860s" as the player was skating off the ice.
St. Louis Park Athletic Director Andrew Ewald sent a letter to New Prague AD Brad Skogerboe on Monday, saying he's made the decision that the school "will not compete directly with New Prague High School as a result of the racist experience our boys hockey program was subject to" on Feb. 15.
New Prague and St. Louis Park are both in the Metro West Conference.
"My decision was also influenced by the other incidents of racism involving New Prague High School athletics in the last month involving other conference schools," Ewald added.
New Prague fans, including adults, earlier this month allegedly made monkey noises toward visiting Cooper High School players during a varsity girls high school basketball game. And during a ninth-grade basketball game between Benilde-St. Margaret's and New Prague, two girls in the stands reportedly referred to a Benilde player as a "monkey" as he shot free throws.
Ewald said he made this decision after speaking with students, stakeholders, and leaders.
St. Louis Park won't compete against New Prague through at least the spring 2022 season, and it's "open-ended after that, and will continue until the harm that was caused is repaired and we are assured that any of our stakeholders, most importantly our students, will not be victimized by racism by any New Prague stakeholder in the future."
St. Louis Park High School is also removing the New Prague banner from its gym "until the harm is repaired and assurances are to our liking," Ewald said.
The St. Louis Park AD noted he did not make this decision "lightly," adding:
"As I said when New Prague High School was applying to the Metro West Conference, 'I will not stand for your community and students to have teachable moments at the expense of our students.' Therefore, I will not tolerate or allow our students to further experience any racism while participating in athletics against New Prague High School."
In a statement to Bring Me The News, New Prague Area Schools Superintendent Tim Dittberner said "We do not tolerate racist or hate speech by students or athletic players. We know the hurt this causes."
Dittberner notes the incident "was dealt with immediately."
"We sincerely apologize for this incident and make no excuses for the behavior. We are taking steps to work with our athletes, student body, staff and coaches so these types of incidents do not happen in the future," Dittberner said. "We will be sharing more specific information about these steps at a future date."
The racist incidents involving New Prague come at the same time Minnetonka High School is embroiled in its own racism controversy, which prompted the head coach of the girls varsity basketball team to step down. Meanwhile, Minnetonka students of color organized a sit-in to demand change within the district.