A group of Indianapolis fourth graders who won a robotics challenge were told to “go back to Mexico” after clinching the exciting win.
USA TODAY reports the group—three Latinos and two African-Americans—were harassed by competing students and their parents as they exited the school’s parking lot following the event.
The verbal attack had reportedly spilled over from the gymnasium. During the competition, one or two parents allegedly harassed the group with racist comments loud enough for Pleasant Run parents and supporters to hear.
“They were pointing at us and saying, ‘Oh my God, they are champions of the city all because they are Mexican. They are Mexican, and they are ruining our country,'” Diocelina Herrera, a parent of one of the students said.
Nearly 35 schools competed in the robotics challenge hosted by Plainfield High.
“For the most part, the robotics world is kind of a White world,” said Lisa Hopper, the team’s coach. “They’re just not used to seeing a team like our kids. And they see us and they think we’re not going to be competition. Then we’re in first place the whole day, and they can’t take it.”
Hopper said her team and its supporters were unable to identify the culprits behind the racially offensive remarks.
“We don’t condone that behavior; we don’t tolerate it in our schools,” said Sabrina Kapp, director of communications for Plainfield Community School Corp. “We talk a lot about community values here. That is simply not something that anybody associated with Plainfield schools would put up with.”