Shock After North Dakota High School Students Appear to Don KKK Style Hoods at Hockey Game

In this Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 photo provided by Shane Schuster, three people in the Red River High School student section wear Ku Klux Klan-style white robes and hoods during a semifinal game in the North Dakota Boys Hockey Tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. (Photo: AP)

(TheBlaze/AP) — A North Dakota high school principal says appropriate action is being taken after three students briefly donned Ku Klux Klan-style white robes and hoods Friday night during a state hockey semifinal game.

The photo caused an uproar on Twitter when it was posted by 19-year-old Shane Schuster, who was seated with some friends at Ralph Engelstad Arena when something in the student section across the rink caught his eye.

“I thought, `Are those KKK hoods?’ I couldn’t believe it,” Schuster said. “I was shocked.”

Schuster said he focused his camera phone and snapped a photo, later uploading it to Twitter.  By late afternoon, it had more than 75 retweets, with many users expressing outrage and some wondering whether the picture was Photoshopped.

But Kristopher Arason, Red River’s principal, said the school’s investigation determined that the students put on the attire just after Red River’s first goal and wore it for about 30 seconds to a minute. The teens removed the outfits after students in the section told them it was offensive, he said.

“We, as a school, are extremely disappointed with the behavior of these three students,” Arason said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Saturday. “This behavior is not a representation of our school or student body.”

He did not indicate what disciplinary action the three unidentified students could face.

The students were all dressed in white as part of a “white out” theme to support the team, according to reports, an idea popularized more than 25 years ago by the Winnipeg Jets.  In the intervening years, though, the practice has spread to the college and high school levels.

The Associated Press notes that Davies High School is named in honor of Ronald Davies, the former federal judge from Fargo whose 1957 rulings integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. – a pivotal event in the civil rights movement.

The judge’s son commented for the Grand Forks Herald: “I’m not familiar with the white out actions and they cause me no concern…The hooded portion is something the school administration should talk to the students about. They may not have attached any significance to their attire but, if they did, and it was racially motivated, then the school ought to take appropriate action, whatever that is.”

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