The Boyertown Area School District is investigating claims that racial comments were made by its students at a recent track meet against Pottstown students.
“We first became aware of the incident, due to a letter posted online, a letter to the editor in The Mercury,” Boyertown Superintendent Richard Faidley said Thursday. “We became aware of that late Friday afternoon (May 15).”
The letter was written by a parent, Jennifer Green, who was in attendance at the May 5 track meet, when Pottstown Middle School raced at Boyertown Junior High West.
“While on the side of the track, I heard many racist comments made by the track runners from Boyertown, as well as from the parents and grandparents,” Green wrote in the letter.
Since then, the district has been looking into the incident by contacting coaches, student athletes and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association official who was present at the game. The district is a designated “No Place for Hate” and Faidley said that part of that effort is showing that the organization will not tolerate racially insensitive behavior.
“We have to model the fact that we will not tolerate those behaviors,” he said. “We take the allegations and reports very seriously, and we will investigate thoroughly, and if we determine that there is a fault, on behalf of a student or an adult, we will take appropriate consequences and enact education so these things don’t occur in the future.”
Green’s letter was met with comments that both supported and denied her allegations of comments aimed at black student athletes made by Boyertown students.
Faidley hopes that the investigation will provide results that allow the district to clearly identify those involved, if any, and take disciplinary action if needed.
“In my conversation with Pottstown administration, they have been very understanding and supportive of our investigation,” Faidley said. “They’ve been very helpful. And we are going to work with Pottstown moving into the future, to put measures into place where we can have our student athletes interact in a positive manner.”
He said that results of the investigation could come as early as today.
As a “No Place for Hate” district, there are already a number of programs and presentations that promote acceptance and embracing diversity, starting in elementary school and continuing through senior high school curriculums, Faidley said.
“We have these programs, to such an extent that the ADL has recognized that with the distinction that we’ve gone above and beyond what a normal school district would do in terms of these types of activities,” he said. “We work very, very hard as an organization to make sure that we teach our students the right values, that we value the acceptance and diversity. We do not tolerate any sort of behavior that puts down others, whether it be for gender, or differences of race, or whatever the case may be, we do not tolerate that in our organization nor will we tolerate in our school district.”