MSHSL: New Prague students accused of making hand gesture synonymous with white supremacy during hockey game

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) says New Prague Area Schools officials have spoken with students who allegedly made a hand gesture during Wednesday’s hockey game that is synonymous with white supremacy.

According to the league, the gestures were caught on camera during Wednesday’s boys hockey state tournament game against Hermantown.

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After league officials contacted New Prague school administrators, the students — who were identified as upper elementary age — were addressed by school officials. According to the league, the students did not know the gesture was synonymous with white supremacy.

The MSHSL issued a full statement, which can be found below, but said it “condemns all actions that are intended to cause racial harm in any way and continues to work directly with member schools to best represent the mission and beliefs of the MSHSL.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to New Prague district officials for comment on the incident and was given the following statement regarding the gesture:

“Tonight at the boys state hockey tournament two New Prague upper elementary students made the ‘ok’ hand gesture. In addition to being the ‘ok’ hand gesture, it can be used to signify white supremacy. School administration addressed the situation immediately after they were made aware of the situation. When questioned, the students did not understand what the signal meant. They were mimicking something they saw at an earlier hockey game on the big screen. We have no reason to believe they knew it could signify white supremacy. While we know this is very upsetting to many, please be assured we feel confident that the students were not intending to send a message of white supremacy when they made the gesture.”

New Prague Area Schools

When asked about any disciplinary action taken by the district regarding the elementary students’ actions, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was told the district could not comment on the matter due to data privacy laws.

This isn’t the first time students in the school district have been accused of racist actions.

Earlier this month, the New Prague School Board held a meeting and discussed ways to address claims of racism in its district.

RELATED: New Prague school board discusses inclusiveness, claims of racist behavior

During that meeting, the superintendent apologized for the actions made by community members during athletic events with various schools.

St. Louis Park High School previously said it wouldn’t compete against New Prague at least for the 2022 spring season. In February, the district’s athletic director sent a letter to New Prague, saying the action is a result of a “racist experience” during a boys hockey game on Feb. 15. In that letter, Athletic Direct Andrew Ewald said his decision to cut ties with New Prague was also influenced by more allegations of racism against another school in the Metro West Conference.

Also in February, the Robbinsdale Area Schools superintendent announced the district wouldn’t be competing in any New Prague-hosted athletic events “for the foreseeable future.” That announcement came as a response to reports of racist behavior against Black athletes from the crowd at a girls varsity basketball game on Feb. 15.

LATEST: Robbinsdale High School suspended competitions “for the foreseeable future.”

The taunts — including monkey noises — came from both students and adults directed at Robbinsdale Cooper High School team members, according to a letter sent out by Robbinsdale Superintendent David Engstrom.

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