Oklahoma City education officials seek response from Ketchum in alleged racist actions at game

Cheerleaders and basketball players from Oklahoma City's Northeast Academy said they experienced racist abuse from fans of Ketchum High School during a recent playoff game. The cheerleaders said they were spit on and that students called them racial slurs.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: March 9, 2013
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Students from Northeast Academy for Health Sciences and Engineering said they were the victims of racist taunts during a recent playoff basketball game against Ketchum High School.

“Our expectation is that Ketchum would apologize and impress upon their students why this was an issue,” said Brian Corpening, a member of the Northeast enterprise school board. “We were offended — as we should be — by the behavior of the students.”

Ketchum threw candy and water on the cheerleaders and spit on the boys basketball team during a huddle in a March 2 playoff game in Claremore, one cheerleader wrote in a statement. One Ketchum student shouted references to the slavery movie “Roots.”

“We felt degraded and disrespected by the Ketchum fans,” the Northeast student wrote.

Ketchum High School Principal Joe Gramlich said he didn't attend the game and was unaware of the allegations.

“I did not hear that,” Gramlich said when reached over the phone Friday. “That's the first I've heard of that.”

Attempts to reach additional Ketchum officials were unsuccessful.

Ketchum is a town of about 450 residents in Craig County, according to the U.S. Census. About 75 percent of its residents are white. No black people reportedly lived in the town during the 2010 Census; about 450 black people lived in all of Craig County at the time.

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