A New Jersey junior varsity high school soccer coach called police after opposing parents allegedly taunted Hispanic players on his team with disturbing comments.
Per NJ.com, a Monday junior varsity soccer match between Hopewell Valley High School (Pennington, N.J.) and Trenton Central High School (Trenton, N.J.) was the site for an outbreak of hate speech aimed at intimidating teenage athletes. During the match, Hopewell parents allegedly shouted phrases including “Speak English” and “This is America!”
Trenton is a majority Hispanic district, with 5,728 of 11,118 of Hispanic descent, according to NJ.com. Only 163 of Hopewell’s 3,518 students identify as Hispanic.
Those shouts were hurtful enough that a Trenton Central coach called the local police, who arrived at the scene and then got the match’s referees to tell the parents to stop the name calling. The parents complied and the match continued without incident.
Still, that didn’t keep the near flare-up from inspiring hurt feelings and the need for action on the part of Hopewell Valley. The response in presence came from Hopewell Valley Superintendent Thomas Smith and Hopewell Police Chief Lance Maloney, who have both opened independent inquiries into the incident and also visited the Trenton school district to speak to officials and athletes.
“This does not reflect our community,” Smith told the Trenton schools, per NJ.com. “We’ll grow from this.”