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School students accused of racism for chanting 'USA' and waving pro-Trump signs at football game

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A California principal is accusing a rival school's students of displaying racist signs during a patriotic-themed football game on Friday night. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A high school principal has accused a rival school of racist behavior during a game between two Orange County teams Friday night — behavior that consisted of chanting "USA! USA!," wearing patriotic colors, and waving pro-Trump signs. But the other school's principal is pushing back on the claims.

What happened?

Aliso Niguel High School's Wolverines hosted Santa Ana High School's Saints in a game where the home team's fans were encouraged to wear red, white, and blue to show patriotism ahead of the upcoming Patriot Day on Sept. 11.

Just after midnight the next day, Santa Ana principal Jeff Bishop posted a lengthy message to Facebook about his school's 42-21 loss, while accusing Aliso Niguel students of displaying offensive signs and yelling disrespectful chants during the game.

"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 other politically and racially-charged statements."

Bishop continued, "What I love about OUR coach is that at no time did he allow this unchristian hate from the Wolverine stands affect HIS team."

In an interview with the Orange County Register on Saturday, Bishop admitted that he had not seen clearly what the signs read, but said "Up on the bleachers, way up on the walls in the corners of the bleachers, there was something about Trump. That alone made me think, 'What is this, a football game or a political rally?"

According to the Los Angeles Times, roughly 99 percent of students who attend Sana Ana are Latino, while a majority of the student body at Aliso Niguel are white.

Bishop took offense at fans from the home team chanting "U.S.A...U.S.A" after Aliso Niguel's first touchdown. He told the Register, "They're chanting 'U.S.A.' like it's a game against another country, like it's against Germany or against Mexico."

He later told KCAL-TV, "Again, a small number of kids...when they said, 'It's not a great day to be a Mexican now, is it?' When I heard that, oh hell no."

Who called to complain?

At halftime, Bishop said he summoned the rival school's principal, Deni Christensen, to complain. He recalled, "I told her 'You're playing Americans. You're playing 'Dreamers,' I don't understand the U.S.A. pride thing when you score. And if I hear it one more time, I am walking off the field with the team.'"

Christensen acknowledged that Bishop approached her, telling KCAL-TV in a statement:

"He reported that his students and fans had seen the sign referencing President Trump before the game, and a sign that said 'We love red, we love white, we love blue,' along with our students arriving dressed in red, white and blue, and he felt that the entire atmosphere was inhospitable to his school and community."

Christensen told KCAL that neither she nor other Aliso Niguel officials saw any sign that read "Build the Wall," but they did remove one sign that read "Bring back Obama" and another that said "We're going to Trump you."

On Saturday, Bishop made an updated post on Facebook reiterate that a sign reading "We love white" was posted on the bleachers. But commenters replied that even zooming in on the photos the lettering could not be read, and others slammed Bishop for not reporting the full message on the sign: "We love red, we love white, we love blue," accusing the principal of being misleading and divisive.

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