Student leaders from neighboring New York school districts may meet early next week to discuss last week’s girls soccer game in which racist comments were directed at one team’s players.
As the Daily Gazette reports, Niskayuna (N.Y.) district officials are still investigating, but administrators in each district have acknowledged that members of the Niskayuna High student section directed racist comments at Schenectady (N.Y.) High players during the game, which Niskayuna won, 9-0.
Per the Daily Gazette, the two schools’ student councils have been in communication about a possible meeting.
“How we can create a better sense of unity among our schools?” Reem Djebli, a student representative to the Niskayuna school board, said per the Daily Gazette.
The near-future meeting could be seen as damage control for actions that should already have been taken.
At Tuesday’s Niskayuna school board meeting, the Daily Gazette reports, two residents told the school board that district leaders should have done a better job of overseeing students at the game and communicating with parents.
Niskayuna Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. released a statement to the community following the incident, per the Daily Gazette.
“I was further disappointed that Dr. Tangorra did not denounce it in a more forceful manner in his statement,” said Amanda Brazee, a parent of three Niskayuna students. “Yelling racial slurs is abhorrent behavior that must never be tolerated and it is important to reinforce that.”
“The fact that we don’t know what happened is disturbing to me,” said Pat Lanotte, a former Niskayuna school board president, according to the Daily Gazette. “No one knows what the truth is, because no one was there.”
Tangorra at the meeting condemned the comments at the soccer game.
“It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t misbehavior, it was an appalling action that took place,” Tangorra said at Tuesday’s board meeting, per the Daily Gazette.
He also said that the students who have voiced repulsion at the vulgar comments far outnumber the students responsible.
Per the Daily Gazette, it’s not clear whether Niskayuna officials will ultimately identify who was responsible for the comments.
“Unfortunately, we put ourselves in this situation by engaging in a culture of trash talk at sporting events; this culture of trash talk will not occur any longer,” Niskayuna principal John Rickert said in the Friday announcements, per the Daily Gazette. “Because this [trash talk] occurred, and we know this occurred, it opened up to serious, serious criticisms of a level yet to be proven.”
The mother of a Schenectady player posted on Facebook about the racial slurs at the game on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it had been shared over 1.2 thousand times.
“That did occur from a small portion of the Niskayuna student body,” Schenectady athletic director Steve Boynton said last week of the racist remarks. “[The Schenectady players] handled themselves like young ladies.”