All games between schools from two western Pa. school districts have been canceled after reports of a racially-charged incident between the two schools.
The cancellations of events between Penn Hills (Pittsburgh) and Connellsville come after reports of racial slurs aimed at Penn Hills players during a recent varsity boys soccer game.
Last Thursday on the Connellsville High field, the Penn Hills boys soccer team claims several black players on their team were victims of racial hated from the Connellsville team, the fans and the students.
Nancy Hines, Penn Hills superintendent, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the school will not travel to Connellsville or host the school until the Sept. 6 incident is investigated and resolved by the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.
“It was so disturbing that it warranted our position and immediate involvement of WPIAL,” Hines said in a statement.
“It was late day last Friday that we received here in the office an email, a letter of concern from the athletic administrator at Penn Hills giving an indication that there were allegations made about inappropriate behavior,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said, per KDKA.
That information was shared with Connellsville.
Connellsville superintendent Joseph Bradley wrote: “The Connellsville Area School District looks forward to any findings of the WPIAL and seeks opportunities to improve the educational experience of not only Connellsville area school district student athletes but also the experience of our brother and sister schools at the WPIAL/PIAA.”
Per KDKA, all information will be presented at the WPIAL board meeting next Monday.
Hines, O’Malley and Bradley did not offer specifics about the incident, but Lisa Silverman, a parent of Penn Hills athletes and a Woodland Hills English teacher, criticized game officials in a letter provided to the Tribune-Review for not “addressing the racial hatred directed at our players.”
The referees “continued to ignore what was happening in the stands and on the field,” the letter stated, per the Tribune-Review.
As the Tribune-Review reports, Silverman, who is white, did not offer specifics about the incident in her letter, but wrote that the Connellsville student section harassed a black player during a throw-in.
Connellsville won the game, 6-1.