The Diocese of Lafayette is investigating reports that cheerleaders at St. Edmund Catholic School in Eunice mocked cheerleaders at other schools, using Nutella, peanut butter and honey to simulate “blackface” makeup in hazing freshmen cheerleader candidates.
Images of the hazing incident were shared on social media, drawing complaints from parents and other members of the community.
St. Edmund Catholic School Chancellor J. Robert Romero released a statement Wednesday thanking individuals for bringing the incident to the school’s attention, adding that it was being taken “very seriously.”
“Upon completion of our ongoing investigation, appropriate actions will be taken,” Romero said. “Racially offensive pictures are contrary to the values of the Roman Catholic Church and will not be tolerated in our school.”
The St. Landry Parish School System has also received the reports, as well as numerous media inquiries, about the incident. Communication Director Kelly Garrett said that although the issue does affect students in St. Landry Parish, St. Edmund is not a public school and therefore not under the district’s purview.
“We are aware of the incident, and our superintendent has been informed,” Garrett said. “We do work closely with the Diocese and feel that the Diocese will handle this incident appropriately.”
FROM THE DIOCESE OF LAFAYETTE: The Diocese of Lafayette has received emails and telephone calls regarding recent photos involving students at St. Edmund Catholic School., and we thank those who brought this issue to our attention. The administration of St. Edmund School and leaders of the Diocese of Lafayette are taking this matter very seriously, and an investigation is currently underway, aimed at getting all the facts. The Diocese is working closely with both Eunice High School as well as St. Edmund Catholic School during this process.
Racially offensive conduct is contrary to the values and principles of the Roman Catholic Church and will not be tolerated in our Catholic schools. Once a full investigation is completed, any appropriate action will be taken at that time by St. Edmund School.
The respective schools are determined to turn this situation into a very important ‘teaching moment” for their students. To view a statement from Msgr. Robert Romero, Chancellor of St. Edmund Catholic School, and Mr. Mitchell Fontenot, principal of Eunice High School, please visit each school’s respective website.