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

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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.

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 saying, " The MSHSL became aware of hand gestures that were caught on camera at the MSHSL Boys Hockey State Tournament on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. This hand gesture has multiple meanings including signifying white supremacy. MSHSL Officials immediately contacted New Prague school administration who were onsite and promptly identified the upper elementary students responsible for the gesture. The students were unaware of this meaning. New Prague took action to appropriately address this behavior with the students. The MSHSL 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."

Hubbard Broadcasting sister-station KSTP spoke with New Prague school officials, and asked if there would be any disciplinary action taken. The district could not comment on the matter due to data privacy laws.

The New Prague district officials did provide a statement to 5 Eyewitness News:

“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.”

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 STORY: Hermantown topples New Prague, soars into Class A state boys hockey semifinals