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(5-18-22) — A Lake Catholic high school boys lacrosse player with a swastika on his right calf participated Monday evening in a match between Orange and Lake Catholic.
The student emerged with the swastika on his leg at the beginning of the game but rubbed off the mark by the third quarter.
The OHSAA Division II first-round tournament match took place at Orange, fans said that slurs toward the team were also heard during the match. Orange won, 19-7.
Rachel Glazer, a Jewish student at Orange and chief editor for the school’s yearbook and sports photographer who took the image on the player’s leg told 19 News–
“I would just ask why like why is there hate? We’re in high school there’s no reason to be hating on students that you’ve never even met before.”
The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s (OHSAA) Tim Stried, the director of media relations, told the Columbus Jewish News the organization would follow its process to look into the incident and reach out to the teams and officials involved.
The story has gone international and was was picked up by the Times of Israel (Jerusalem, Israel).
Orange Superintendent Dr. Lynn Campbell confirmed the incident in a letter to parents and community members, noting that Lake Catholic is investigating the incidents.
Campbell’s statement reads as follows:
Dear Orange Families,
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of an incident that occurred last night on campus during the men’s lacrosse game against Mentor Lake Catholic High School. Our players reported seeing a swastika painted on the leg of a Lake Catholic player, and subsequently, alumni and parents reported that a visitor was using racist slurs toward our team.
I have spoken to the President of Lake Catholic who shared that he and the Diocese are aware of the magnitude of this situation. He confirmed that they are addressing the incidents, and he is very apologetic and obviously, does not approve of these behaviors. It is important to note that student discipline is confidential, so it is likely that we will not be made aware of this player’s consequences.
Please know that safety is our top priority, and the Board does not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Furthermore, we understand the devastating impact these incidents have on kids and our community. Therefore, our players will be informed about the support we have for them as they try to understand and process this incident.
I am proud of how our athletes took the high road and played with dignity, winning this playoff match in a landslide amidst such upsetting circumstances. Here at Orange, we are proud of and celebrate our diversity, and we are very proud of all of our fine students.
Dr. Lynn Campbell, Superintendent
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland issued a statement later Tuesday on Lake Catholic’s behalf.
Administrators at Lake Catholic High School have been made aware of the very serious allegations of anti-Semitism involving a player on the school’s varsity lacrosse team as well as a Lake Catholic fan during the game against Orange High School yesterday evening. The behaviors alleged are reprehensible and contrary to the Gospel values that Lake Catholic works so hard to promote.
Lake Catholic is currently conducting an investigation into the matter in order to gather all the facts. Once the investigation is completed, appropriate action will be taken to address the matter.
Lake Catholic and the Diocese of Cleveland condemn anti-Semitism in any form and extends its sincere apologies to the Orange High School community for the hurt they are experiencing as a result of what has been reported.
Cover photo for this story courtesy Rachael Glazer