Patriot Perspective: Student section must reconsider actions

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Grace Mottley

Students have misused a prominent student section at the men's basketball games by using it to single out a JC student as well as chanting derogatory things. It is imperative that students reconsider the purpose of a student section in order to preserve our reputation and strengthen our sense of community.

As the ball rushes down the court, the student sections start with their back and forth banter. “SAT scores” and “You can’t do that” echo throughout the gym. Suddenly, the chants turn sour and students from the C. Milton Wright student section chant the name of a JC student. Rather than ignoring it, students from our student section feed into the verbal attack.

“We don’t claim her.”

Unfortunately, this was not the first time a JC student has been singled out during a sports event. During the game against Calvert Hall High School, Calvert Hall students chanted the same JC student’s name.

As a community of students who are supposed to support each other, we cannot accept and continue with this unnecessary, hateful chanting or any comparable action that continues to single out one of our own students. Although some of the student section sat down and were appalled by this chant, it is unacceptable that we have allowed this to happen in the first place.

We are not against chanting at basketball games and showing support for our classmates. In fact, the turnout for both of these games was phenomenal, and we encourage the student body to continue to show school spirit in all cases. However, there is a line that should not be crossed.

After the game had ended, the disrespect directed toward the student carried over to social media, showing up on Twitter. Students who did not attend the game soon heard all about the chanting due to numerous tweets, and even praised JC for their reckless and rude chants and claimed to be “the best student section in the game.” This overall support and encouragement on a public platform established the idea that our students were proud of this behavior.

It is crucial that the community maintains a good reputation with those outside of the school community. Once someone witnesses a JC student behaving inappropriately, that person will automatically generalize the rest of the student body as unprofessional.

It was well known that the University of Maryland Basketball Head Coach Mark Turgeon attended the game against CMW, along with coaches from Virginia Tech and La Salle University. These representatives witnessed the two school communities disrespect a student in an inappropriate manner and observed our school at one of our lowest points. As a community, we want everyone, especially those who are associated with colleges, to look at us with a positive perspective. However, this could be hindered by bad attitudes and rude actions.

With this in mind, a secondary source of disappointment surfaced from the lack of administration interference. Although the chant should have never happened, the administration should have taken the initiative to end it once it began. However, nothing was done to put it to an end, and the administration still has not publicly addressed the behavior.

Regardless of the intensity of the sporting event, it is imperative that our student section remembers that we are a community and must defend each other inside and outside of the classroom. The lack of reaction makes it appear that both students and faculty accepted the fact that we humiliated and belittled one of our own people in front of recruiting coaches, parents, and alumni.  

It is important that we reconsider what we say during these sporting events. Not only has it led to belittling a JC student, but it has caused our community to develop a reputation of recklessness. Chants such as “you’re going to work for us one day” and “sausage fest” are derogatory and inappropriate for a high school game. These chants take away from the positive environment that should be around sporting events and instead distract us from focusing on cheering on the players.

The point of a student section is to show support for our classmates and to encourage them to play their best during the game, not to be a public forum to tear down other students. When we mishandle the benefits of having a present student section at the games, it reflects negativity on the rest of the student body as a whole and damages our reputation.

The student section must steer away from those that are inappropriate and disparaging of a classmate, but rather emphasize the witty, more creative chants. The more creative students get with the designated theme of the night, for example, using props, the more unified we will be and the better school spirit we will have.

Athletes perform at their best with a loud, supportive crowd behind them. As a community who stresses the importance of acceptance and inclusion, the student section must keep in mind the repercussions of their actions and avoid inappropriate chants.