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Beverly Dunn, Published February 14 2010

Questionable sportsmanship at Fargo South

I was sitting among the Shanley High School parents and fans during the Shanley-Fargo South basketball game on Feb. 5 at South High. I was shocked and disappointed by what I saw and heard.

One South student was dressed as a priest carrying a Bible and rosary. Another was dressed as a nun. Many were dressed in Shanley school colors displaying signs referring to various biblical psalms. The students sang “Jesus Loves Me” and chanted phrases openly mocking Shanley as a faith-based school.

What shocked me the most, as it did many others at the games, was hearing a hip-hop song played over the public address system that included language too profane to be repeated and included in a newspaper. It was disappointing to learn that the principal and Fargo South staff were at the games but did nothing to curb the inappropriate behavior or cease the playing of the vulgar song.

Although the disrespect displayed was disappointing, there were two positive observations that deserve being mentioned: First, the South boys and girls basketball players conducted themselves in an admirable manner throughout both games. Second, the Shanley students remained respectful throughout the evening, despite the taunting and mocking from South. Interestingly, the most common statement I heard among the parents in the Shanley fans section was, “This is unbelievable. I am glad my kids are going to Shanley and not to South.”

Most of my former students went to Fargo South after they attended Agassiz Middle School, where I was a teacher for a number of years. That fact made listening to the vulgar song and watching the behavior of the South students all the more painful for me. But the good news is, it doesn’t need to be this way.

I would encourage those Fargo South students, parents and supporters who do not condone the inappropriate behavior on display on Feb. 5, to call upon their fellow students, as well as the administration at Fargo South, to show the “better side” of this otherwise great school.

A good start would be an expression of Bruins pride, balanced with respect and absence of vulgarity, at future South athletic events.