A Highland Park High School girls’ basketball team has had its trip to Arizona canceled by a school superintendent because of safety concerns.
By safety concerns, many parents believe, Suzan Hebson means concerns about the state’s controversial immigration law, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The law, signed last month by Arizona governor Jan Brewer, grants authorities the right to investigate a suspect's immigration status. It has led to some concerns over racial profiling.
Hebson canceled the trip, which has been planned for months and was paid for partly by the girls fundraising efforts, in part because it "would not be aligned with our beliefs and values."
"We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience," Hebson said of the tournament, which will be played in December. "We wouldn't necessarily be able to guarantee that."
She said she doesn’t know if there are any undocumented immigrants on the team, but wants to take precautions just the same.
Parents aren’t buying it, and think it’s a misguided political statement.
"Why are we mixing politics and a basketball tournament?" asked Michael Evans, whose daughter Lauren plays for the squad. "It's outrageous that they're doing this under the guise of safety."
Lauren said she doesn’t think anyone on the team would be stopped under the law.
"It shouldn't be a problem," she said. "I don't think it makes much sense. We shouldn't be a threat. We just want to play basketball."
The school district is looking for another tournament for the team. At least one player thinks their boycott won’t make a difference.
"It's ultimately the state's decision, no matter what I think," said junior Marguerite Biagi. "Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything."
Opponents of the law have called for a boycott of Arizona sports teams. Last month protesters demonstrated outside Wrigley Field when the Arizona Diamondbacks were in town.
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