On the evening of October 4, 2019, the St. Augustine High School football team played Brother Martin High School. This game sanctioned by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association was subject to its rules and regulations, which mandate respect for all participants.
While in the locker room, just before the St. Augustine football team entered the field, a coach lead the team in a chant which included a racial slur. Student-athletes were also encouraged to repeat the offensive and racist term. The chant came to the attention of school administrators via a recording of the incident posted on social media.
We are shocked and embarrassed that such blatantly offensive language would be used at any school event and directed toward our student-athletes and opponents. The words and actions of the coach and the players following his lead do not represent the values that St. Augustine has embodied for more than six decades.
The behavior displayed in the video is indefensible and runs counter to our core values and our commitment to serving young men and their families. Not only are these actions hurtful to our community, but they also undermine the work of our founders, the Josephites, who are standard-bearers for equality and civil rights. It is their legacy that includes athletics as part of our educational mission. We expect our coaches and students to uphold our views on equality, respect and dignity and reflect these values during athletic competition.
In response to the incident, we are conducting a thorough investigation with our administration, coaching staff, and others who were present to supervise the game. We take this behavior very seriously and will use the results of the investigation to determine further actions.
I have asked our leadership team to use this incident to take action within our school community to ensure that our words and actions meet the high standards set by the Josephites. We believe every person, whether a student, coach, faculty, family member, alumnus, or guest, should feel welcome and worthy of respect.
Kenneth A. St. Charles, Ph.D.
President and CEO