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Chants of 'where's your passport?' break out at California high school basketball game

Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 12, 2020

A high school basketball game between two Santa Maria, California, rival teams ended with students in the stands taunting the other team and a confrontation between school administrators.

As the seconds counted down to the final buzzer, the matchup between Righetti and St. Joseph high schools became much more than just a game.

Chants of "where's your passport" from the Righetti student section filled the gym, leading to a heated exchange between school officials. It was captured in a video posted to Twitter by Santa Maria Times Sports Editor Joe Bailey.

According to the Santa Maria Times, St. Joseph High School has three players on the boys' basketball team from Puerto Rico and one from France.

The video shows St. Joseph's principal, Erinn Dougherty, storming across the court to confront the Righetti students. While a woman appears to try to calm down Dougherty, Righetti's Assistant Principal Ted Lyon gets involved in the exchange and trades words.

In response to what transpired after the game, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Public Information Officer Kenny Klein said in a statement representing Righetti:

We are aware of the unacceptable comments exchanged from both sides of the basketball court during the heated rivalry between St. Joseph and Righetti High School Tuesday night. The incident is being addressed by SMJUHSD and RHS school officials. We have no further comment at this time.

St. Joseph High School responded with their own statement:

We are disappointed about the way the boys basketball game against Righetti High School ended on Tuesday night. We do not tolerate any type of inappropriate statements made at any student especially if they could be interpreted as disrespectful. We hope that this can be a lesson in sportsmanship and mutual respect for students from both schools.

This article was written by Michael Torres for KSBY .