BH-BL school officials apologize to Amsterdam for students' racial taunts

October 14, 2013
Updated 10:38 p.m.
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— Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School officials sent a letter of apology to Amsterdam City School District leaders in response to racial taunts during Saturday’s homecoming football game.

During the last few minutes of the fourth quarter of the game, BH-BL student spectators chanted “Amster-ico,” a derogatory term aimed at Amsterdam’s large Hispanic population.

“This type of behavior is certainly not condoned and is never acceptable in any setting,” the letter reads.

The letter was signed by BH-BL Superintendent Patrick McGrath, high school Principal Tim Brunson, Athletic Director Robert McGuire and head football coach Matt Shell.

'We are sincerely sorry'

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake administrators formally apologized to Amsterdam High officials in an Oct. 13, 2013 letter, which you can read here.

“We are sincerely sorry that this incident occurred and we want to assure you that we are taking it very seriously,” the letter continued.

BH-BL administrators will meet today to discuss what consequences the students who chanted the slur will face.

“The administration at the high school is working to address this situation with all of the students involved,” the administrators’ letter read. “Where appropriate, disciplinary consequences will be applied. In addition, we will use this situation as an opportunity to increase our efforts in teaching our students the importance of respect for diversity and good citizenship.”

Burnt Hills administrators also are planning to reach out to Schenectady County Embraces Diversity to seek input and assistance in working with students. The organization works to engage the community in conversation about diversity issues and to encourage community action.

The letter voiced hope that the two schools could maintain a friendly rivalry — one based on mutual respect and understanding — and also extended an invitation to meet to discuss the situation.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam High School officials are going to meet today with members of the football team to discuss the taunting, according to district Superintendent Thomas Perillo.

He said his district traditionally has had a very good relationship with BH-BL, both on and off the field.

To support Amsterdam’s students and the entire community, faculty members at Amsterdam High School were asked to wear purple and gold — the school’s colors — Tuesday.

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October 14, 2013
6:35 p.m.
cracker says...

I have heard this term applied to Amsterdam for some time, and this is the first time I have heard of any complaints over it, I am not saying it is right,but it would seem to me that there are a lot worse things than this that can be said.

October 15, 2013
7:52 a.m.
smithmi41 says...

So "Cracker" seems to be saying what was said was "not right", but it wasn't all that bad because others have been saying it for some time and that worst things can be said of Amsterdam. I suspect I read "cracker's commentary" quite a few times..fascinating collection of words.. but I never attribute to malice that which can be explained by this case it took me awhile to figure out.

October 15, 2013
9:50 a.m.
biwemple says...

Should send these ignorant kids up to Amsterdam to spend a few weeks attending that school and open their eyes a bit.

October 15, 2013
4:30 p.m.
mbhynes says...

I remember back in 1982 being at high school basketball games. When the ref made a "bad" call, the cheering section used to call him "Ayatollah" and wagged their fingers chanting "Ayatollah the ref!" Ayatollah Khomeni was about the worst person anyone could think of then. This whole thing with BHBL and Amsterdam had me thinking about those times.

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