Chant leads to apology, release says

AMSTERDAM – Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District officials have apologized to the Greater Amsterdam School District for chants made at a football game Saturday, according to a news release.

According to GASD’s website, the administration at BH-BL sent a letter of apology for inappropriate comments made by BH-BL student spectators during the football game Saturday in Burnt Hills.

Christine Multer, BH-BL spokeswoman, said in the fourth quarter of the homecoming football game, a small number of students had begun chanting “Amsterico,” a reference to Amsterdam’s large Hispanic population.

“This type of behavior is certainly not condoned and is never acceptable in any setting,” the apology said.

Multer said BH-BL Head Coach Matt Shell spoke to the crowd though the loudspeakers, saying if they didn’t stop, he would forfeit the game.

“The administration at the high school is working to address this situation with all of the students involved. Where appropriate, disciplinary consequences will be applied. In addition, we will use this situation as an opportunity to increase our efforts in teaching our students the importance of respect for diversity and good citizenship,” the apology said.

Multer said BH-BL plans on reaching out to Schenectady County Embraces Diversity to seek input on how to work with the students.

“We’ve traditionally had a very good relationship with Burnt Hills, both on and off the field,” GASD Superintendent Thomas F. Perillo said in a news release. “We appreciate that officials in Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake take this issue seriously and will address it with their student body. We, too, will address the incident with Amsterdam High School students this week.”

Perillo said this morning he does not believe this incident reflects badly on BH-BL students, faculty or staff.

According to the letter, BH-BL officials will make efforts to ensure students involved learn from this situation.