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Leaders of Robbinsdale Area Schools have announced its teams will stop taking part in any athletic events hosted by New Prague Schools "for the foreseeable future" after saying the Cooper girls' basketball team was subjected to racist taunts at a recent game.

The announcement was made by Superintendent David Engstrom and members of the district cabinet, in which they backed the Cooper High School players and staff who say they were subjected to monkey taunts by crowd members during a game at New Prague High School last week.

The same move was taken by St. Louis Park High School on Tuesday, after a similar racist incident at a game involving its boys' hockey team last week in which two New Prague players allegedly called one player "a monkey" and told him to "go back to the 1860s."

In his statement, Engstrom has called on the Minnesota State High School League to take "the experience of our students and coaching staff at New Prague High School seriously."

Video from the end of the Cooper-New Prague game does suggest taunts were made towards Cooper players and staff, albeit it's not of sufficient quality to make out what is being said. The taunts did spark a reaction from at least one Cooper staff member who approached the crowd and gestured repeatedly for them to stop the continued chanting, and had to be pulled away by a student.

"We believe our Cooper student-athletes and coaches and the first-person statements they’ve made regarding the incident," Engstrom said.

"We believe the team experienced racist taunts and jeers from the crowd at a high school basketball game in New Prague.

"We believe the student-athletes and coaches handled themselves with dignity and pride as they courageously addressed the racism they heard coming from the stands and consoled and supported one another as they left the gym.

"We believe people should be respected no matter the color of their skin, and our students’ ethnic and cultural backgrounds are important and should be honored."

You can read the full statement here.

Last week, New Prague Area Schools told Bring Me The News it was aware of the incidents involving St. Louis Park and Benilde, adding "both incidents were investigated and appropriate consequences were given." An outside firm is investigating the allegations of racism at the Robbinsdale game, the district said. 

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