A school district accused of displaying a Confederate flag during a high school football game has fired back, calling the claim “significantly inaccurate.”
On Friday, Manual’s (Denver) football team played Weld Central (Colo.) at home. It’s at this game where Manual Principal Nick Dawkins says WCHS — whose mascot is the Rebels — displayed the divisive flag during the first quarter of the game.
Dawkins penned a letter on Saturday about the alleged incident, saying the flag offended “many members of the Manual community,” but was taken down when asked.
That’s not where the issues stopped, though, Dawkins continued in the letter.
“The tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field. Three of our players were injured during the game, including a student who suffered a concussion and a student who was transported to the hospital for a leg injury.”
After local media published the letter, attendees disputed the claim, many saying they never saw the flag.
“I did not see any flags of ANY sort at the field,” one person claimed on Facebook.
Soon after, the Weld County superintendent of schools and Weld Central High School principal released a lengthy statement in response.
STATEMENT: Weld County responds to flag accusation
“Evidence supports that our team and community were unfairly represented with what appears to be significantly inaccurate information presented to the Manual community and the media,” it read in part.
“Multiple school officials have viewed a video recording of the game which contains footage of the Weld Central crowd. From our viewings, no signs of a confederate flag exist. Further, we have no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior on or off the field.”
Jessie Smiley, spokesperson for Denver Public Schools, told 9NEWS on Sunday morning she was unaware of any photos or video of a Confederate flag at that game. She provided a statement from the district late Sunday afternoon that reads, in full:
We are reaching out to the Weld Central High School community to jointly discuss the events of Friday night and how we can all move forward in a collaborative and positive spirit.
Weld County does acknowledge a full investigation is not done, and “in the event any accusations are substantiated, we as a district will take full responsibility in condemning such behavior and disciplining students as appropriate.”
Colorado High School Activities Association also a released statement on Sunday. It read in part, “The Colorado High School Activities Association and its member schools adopt policies that are designed to help students learn life skills in an environment called educational athletics and activities.”
Manual lost the game 48-12.