By Linda Cicoira
Members of Arcadia High’s baseball team were hit with “racial slurs” and other harassment when they played against Chincoteague High’s team earlier this month, according to a letter Accomack school officials received from the students’ parents last week.
“We are writing to express our sincere concern, disappointment, and disgust for the actions taken by Chincoteague High School Varsity Baseball players during their home game versus Arcadia High School, on Tuesday, June 1, 2021,” the letter stated. “While sportsmanship is a major concern, more egregious were the racial slurs and harassment our players faced. It is one thing to heckle a freshman pitcher while he is trying to throw strikes or to argue with the official about a strike called, but it is entirely a different matter to comment on an opposing player’s skin color, size, or character,” the players wrote.
“Two of our African American players” were called the N-word “several times by CHS players,” the parents wrote. They addressed their letter to “whom it may concern” and send the letter to members of the Accomack School Board, Superintendent Chris Holland, Chincoteague High Principal Harold Holmes, and the Virginia High School League. The letter was also received by a Shore Daily News reporter.
“One (student) was called a ‘fat gorilla’ accompanied by movements that imitated the animal,” the letter said of a student. The N-word was also used to describe a player who was running bases.
“As a school division, we cannot allow this behavior to go unpunished,” the parents wrote. “As athletes, our students should be held to a higher standard to hold up the values we instill in them from an early age. As parents and community stakeholders, we have to expect better from our children.”
The parents said, “playing Chincoteague has become a hostile environment for our students. We do not face the same issues when we play Nandua or Northampton High School. It was not only the players on the field, but the students spectating who were disrespectful to our families. CHS coaches stood by and did nothing to prevent the behavior that was seen … rather they seem to encourage this,” the letter continued.
The parents called for school officials to take action. “We will not stand by and watch our friends, brothers, and sons be treated in this manner while trying to play the game they love,” the letter stated.
Superintendent Holland and Principal Holmes were not available for comment Monday.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Rhonda Hall said, Holland “is out of town.
Check with him when he comes back on (the next) Monday. I don’t have a comment from him.”
Holmes was not expected at the school until Wednesday. Assistant Principal Katie Farrell said, “Unfortunately, I would have no comment on that. Questions would have to go to the superintendent.”
Principal Shaun O’Shea, of Arcadia High, directed questions to the school board office.
Tom Doyle of the Virginia High School League said he just saw the letter.
“It’s with the two schools and the school division to report to us at this point,” Doyle said.
“We want to make sure that it is dealt with.”
The parents, who sent the letter, did not sign it individually. The school board’s next meeting is Tuesday, June 15.
The post Letter claims racial slurs heard at high school baseball game appeared first on Shore Daily News.
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