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Orange High School boys lacrosse team allegedly subjected to antisemitic slurs during JV game at Elyria Catholic

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland tells 3News a member of the Panthers' co-ed team is accused of uttering the slur.

ORANGE, Ohio — The Orange City School District confirms it has received a report that members of its high school boys lacrosse team were subjected to antisemitic slurs during a junior varsity game against Elyria Catholic Monday evening.

In an email sent to district families and staff members Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Lynn Campbell says administrators are "actively investigating" the allegations while also providing "support to the affected students to help them as they navigate moving forward." The incident would have taken place during the Lions' JV contest against the Panthers' co-ed squad in Lorain County, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has since told 3News the accusation involves a member of EC's team.

"The safety and wellbeing of students is our top priority," Campbell wrote. "Part of that safety includes making sure students are treated fairly and respectfully and making it clear that the District condemns the type of behavior alleged to be involved here."

This is not the first time alleged antisemitism has been directed at Orange lacrosse players. During a varsity game last season against Lake Catholic, photos showed a Cougars player with a swastika on his calf, and an investigation later found a teammate had put the symbol on the player's leg without the player knowing. As a result, the student responsible was barred from Lake Catholic graduation ceremonies and required to complete a Jewish heritage program, and head coach Chris Hastings resigned. The school did not field a boys lacrosse team this season after failing to find a replacement.

Regarding Monday's alleged incident, the diocese released the following statement:

"The Elyria Catholic administration and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland were made aware of an allegation that a member of the Elyria Catholic co-ed lacrosse team made an anti-Semitic statement toward the Orange High School lacrosse team. The school is actively investigating the situation, is in dialogue with school personnel from Orange City Schools, and will take appropriate disciplinary action as warranted once all the facts are known. Elyria Catholic High School and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland categorically condemn antisemitism of any kind."

WKYC also reached out to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, with Community Relations Committee Chair Susan R. Borison saying, "This is yet another example of the antisemitism that exists in our community. We must all work together — people of all faiths and backgrounds — to make clear that hate has no home in Northeast Ohio."

Coincidentally, Campbell's investigation announcement came on the same day a bullet was found inside the Orange High School cafeteria. Police say a student later admitted to owning the bullet and that a rifle and ammunition were also found inside the student's car.

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