OC high school football overshadowed by racial controversy

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- Friday night football was overshadowed by a racially charged controversy involving two Orange County high schools.

The principal of Santa Ana High School spoke out publicly after he observed some students from Aliso Niguel High School taking what he perceived as a racist tone at what was supposed to be a patriotic celebration.

The theme of the game that night at Aliso Niguel High School was "Red, White and Blue" - to commemorate 9/11.

But Santa Ana Principal Jeff Bishop says some students used the patriotic theme to discriminate. He said there were signs that referenced President Trump and chants of "Build the Wall" that he felt targeted his school's mostly Hispanic student body.

He said when Aliso Niguel scored, he heard chants of "USA, USA" - as if the home team's players were Americans playing another country.

He plans to address the issue at the next Capistrano Unified School District board meeting.

Aliso Niguel Principal Deni Christensen said the game was intended as a patriotic celebration. She said when she and the assistant principals learned of the political signs, they had them removed. She said the chants of "USA, USA" were not intended as an affront to Santa Ana.

In a letter to her school community, she said she will be meeting with student leaders and staff to review the purpose of the patriotic theme. "However, I am deeply saddened that anyone could categorize our students or community as 'racist' and I have made that very clear. We have nothing but respect for Santa Ana High School, and all schools."
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.