ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Following internal investigations into alleged racism incidents that occurred at two local varsity soccer games, the Pittsford and Greece School Districts have come to opposing conclusions.
Discussions over the incident began after parents saw players on the Pittsford-Mendon boys and girls varsity soccer teams make alleged racist comments and slurs towards black students from Greece Arcadia last week.
The Pittsford Central School District and Greece Central School District conducted individual investigations into the matter. Here are the statements made from each party:
Greece Central School
“The Greece Central School District conducted a thorough investigation into the allegations of racist behavior at two recent soccer games. We interviewed dozens of student athletes, staff, coaches and families as well as reviewed game film and audio. Our investigation supports the claims made. We believe our students and will stand by them and their families.
We continue to meet with our teams in a restorative manner to ensure voices are heard and to provide a safe and supportive space to process through these complex issues. Empowering students enables us to move forward in the best way possible. No matter the district, school campuses should be spaces where all people are treated with respect and dignity. We will continue to work collaboratively with districts across Monroe County to improve how we handle and respond to difficult situations.
We are proud of our students and we remain committed to ensuring that Greece Central is a welcoming and affirming space for all. “
Pittsford Central School
“The investigation showed that the Mendon student fan section was loud at times and that some fans called out a Greece player by name. However, the findings clearly indicate that the students’ behavior — while disruptive — was not racial in nature or racially motivated.
With respect to the girls soccer game against Greece Arcadia, Pittsford CSD conducted multiple witness interviews to gather their accounts. District officials also completed a thorough review of the game film. Evidence from our investigation does not support the serious allegation that one of our players used a racial slur.”
Initial results of each investigation statement suggests that Greece Central School District supports the claims of racist allegations. On the other side, the Pittsford Central District says the incident was not “racially motivated.”
Prior to investigating into the incidents, the two districts made opening statements to News 8, saying:
“The Pittsford Central School District is working collaboratively with the Greece Central School District on allegations of racist remarks alleged to have been made during recent athletic games. As with any allegation of this nature, the school district takes it very seriously, and is conducting a thorough investigation.“
“[The Greece Central School District is] aware of the allegations regarding recent athletic contests. Our primary goal is to always listen, protect and support our students and community. We have worked hard as a school district to build systems of support for all students and families and we are committed to disrupting and dismantling racism. Our athletic department is working cooperatively with Pittsford to gather information and determine the appropriate next steps.”
The investigation into the racism allegations follow a student-led protest the Pittsford School District response to a video surfaced of a student at Pittsford Sutherland High School holding an air-soft gun and making a racist slur.
On Thursday, News 8’s Ally Peters spoke with a mom who said her daughter was on the Greece girl’s soccer team when her teammates were allegedly called racial slurs.
Rumella Cameron was upset to hear Pittsford found the allegations unfounded.
“I’m absolutely upset with them, I’m disappointed with them. I’m lost for words,” Cameron said.
Cameron said she is worried if districts don’t take acts of racism seriously enough, students won’t feel comfortable coming forward if they experience it.
“You’re telling me that if I’m trying to stand up for what’s right, and shining light on the racism that does exist… that many people try to sweep, and the fact that an entire school district is doing it, then you’re saying it’s okay, you’re condoning this type of behavior,” she said.
Cameron says she is happy with how Greece is handling the incident, but wants more to be done to keep incidents like this from possibly happening.
“At this point, we can’t control others behaviors. What we can do is make sure that we have policies in place so that we’re not displaying this kind of behavior. And then if it does happen, there’s gonna be consequences for it,” Cameron said. “There should be some type of punishment or something for what has happened. You can’t tell me that the entire team, teams, lied about a situation.”
Both Pittsford and Greece School Districts said Thursday that their investigations are now concluded. Greece said they will continue to meet with the players to “help them process and move forward.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.