Staples students accuse Cheshire High School of antisemitism during football game

Cheshire High School’s fan section waved an Israeli flag during the football game versus Staples on Sept. 24.

Photo taken by Jenny Bradshaw ’23

Cheshire High School’s fan section waved an Israeli flag during the football game versus Staples on Sept. 24.

Staples students reported hearing offensive chants and seeing an Israeli flag waved in the Cheshire High School’s student section during the varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 24. 

“Late last night, I was made aware of a number of social media posts alleging antisemitic and racist actions and comments directed towards Staples players and students during the Staples/Cheshire High School football game in Cheshire,” Superintendent Thomas Scarice stated in an email to parents. “I want to assure the community that any allegations such as these are taken with the utmost seriousness.” 

After the game, the conflict was brought to light by Staples’ social media accounts displaying pictures of the game, as well as the allegations. All social media posts have since been taken down, as administrators are asking that this matter be handled off the internet. 

During the game, cheerleader Jenny Bradshaw ’23 reported the issue to police officers. Staples’ cheerleaders spoke to three different officers in order to express their concern that the flags were being waved in a threatening way.  

“One of them said ‘What if they are just Jewish?’ and we responded by saying ‘Why would they bring an Israeli flag to a high school football game when Cheshire’s theme was U.S.A.,’” Bradshaw said. 

Staples Superfans Captain Hannah Kail ’22, has been in touch with a Cheshire student fan who runs their Instagram account in order to discuss the conflict. Cheshire’s students are claiming the individual who brought the Israeli flag is Jewish and did not mean to wave it disrespectfully. Both Staples and Cheshire students’ fan accounts have decided to dis-engage from contact and allow administrators to deal with it. 

“I don’t know why they would even think of doing this, but I do know that, personally, it was scary to see,” Ava Bakaleinik ’25 said. “It made the entire team uncomfortable being at a place that was supposed to be a fun high school event, not full of hatred. We cannot let this be tolerated. I am at a loss for words to explain how I’m feeling.”