During a high school basketball game in the rural town of Perry, Iowa earlier this week, the crowd at the opposing team kept on chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!” to taunt the home players.
The students chanting, who were mainly white, were directing their chants at a diverse group of players that included Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans, according to a report by Iowa television state WHO.
Perry is a town of 8,000 people where the main employer is the Tyson Foods pork plant. Thirty-five percent of the population is Latino, according to data from the 2010 census.
Perry High School students told reporters that opposing fans not only chanted Trump’s name, but taunted them with comments about what the presidential candidate wants to do to get rid of undocumented immigrants.
“As soon as I hear something like that, it just triggers me, makes me strive more, do it for my team, do it for my coaches, do it for my community," Shammond Ivory, a senior on the team, told WHO.
At the end Perry players defeated their rivals, Dallas Center-Grimes, 57-50.
"We are all aware of racism, it's alive and well in small portions but it's alive and well and it's just hurtful to see that's what they resort to,” said Kevin Lopez, Perry Student Section Leader.
The students say the taunting is constant.
“It’s honestly disrespectful. That’s how I take it. I hear it during the game, on and off the court. Everywhere I go,” Ivory said.
School administrators speak with pride about their diverse population, a unique island of sorts in a rural setting.
“We are really more of an urban school in a rural setting. Here at the high school, we are 48 percent minority,” said Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger.
Meanwhile, administrators at Dallas Center-Grimes conceded that the incidents did occur and that they are dealing with.
Dallas Center-Grimes Activities Director Steve Watson declined to comment on whether or not any students were disciplined, according to WHO.
“With the political climate the way that it is, it’s a little more charged,” said Perry’s principal, Dan Marburger.