Santa Ana High School principal Jeff Bishop said his school’s football team and its students were the target of provocative and racially insensitive signs when it played at Aliso Niguel High School on Friday night.
Bishop posted on Facebook that in and around Aliso Niguel’s on-campus stadium he saw posters that included offensive comments, including “Build the Wall,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise that a wall would be built on the United States-Mexico border if he was elected. It is a phrase often repeated by crowds at the president’s rallies.
After Aliso Niguel won the game 42-21, Bishop posted comments on Facebook late Friday night that praised the Santa Ana team and its coaches for how they handled the situation: “It would have been easy to blame the racist welcome the ‘Saints’ received as they walked into the stadium and read the posters referencing – Trump, ‘We love White,’ ‘Build the Wall’ and various other politically and racially-charged statements.”
Bishop acknowledged Saturday that he did not clearly see the wording of the signs.
“Up on the bleachers, way up on the walls in the corners of the bleachers,” Bishop said, “there was something about Trump. That alone made me think, ‘What is this, a football game or a political rally?’ ”
Aliso Niguel principal Deni Christensen said Saturday she saw two signs her assistant principals removed.
Christensen said a “Trump 2020” sign later was removed. Christensen said she and other Aliso Niguel administrators did not see a “Build the Wall” sign and found no other signs that were of a political or potentially insensitive nature in or near the stadium.
Friday’s game was the first of a two-year arrangement for the schools to play each other in football. The Aliso Niguel-Santa football game in 2019 will be Santa Ana’s home game.
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