PITTSBURGH - A public letter is being distributed outlining claims that during a soccer match between Connellsville and Allderdice on Labor Day weekend, players were using racist slurs on the field.
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The letter, penned by the parents of the Allderdice school boys' soccer team, said the other team "goaded a black and Latino member of the soccer team with racial slurs." The letter goes on to say, "one of the Allderdice players responded in defense and was immediately ejected from the game."
The superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, Anthony Hamlet, is calling for the WPIAL to investigate the claims. Hamlet said administrators from Connellsville met with players, coaches and game officials about the claims.
This is not the first time these types of accusations have been levied against the Connellsville high school soccer program. During a match with Penn Hills in 2018, there were claims of racial slurs said on the field. WPIAL officials investigated and found the claims credible, but they could not be proven.
WPIAL officials said they have scheduled a hearing including administrators and coaches from both schools, the players allegedly involved in the incident, their parents and referees who might have heard what actually was said.
"We are where we are today because they were unable to identify exactly what was said or what was contradictory said by the other school," said Amy Scheuneman, WPIAL associate executive director.
The league can mediate the issue, but it cannot conduct its own investigation or discipline students.
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A spokesperson for Connellsville Area School District sent Channel 11 the following statement:
“The Connellsville Area School District denounces racism and emphatically maintains that racism in any form has no place in our civil society, much less in educational settings in the classroom or on the playing field. Likewise, the District deplores the types of homophobic comments allegedly made by Taylor Allderdice players towards a Connellsville soccer player. The District takes every allegation of racism or homophobia seriously and is committed to addressing all such claims. Upon receiving the allegations, the District immediately began investigating the claims and has requested all relevant evidence and information from site officials, game officials, and Connellsville and Allderdice personnel and players. At this time, in acknowledgement of the disappointment of Connellsville players and their parents with these allegations, we seek sensitivity and ask that all conclusions be well-reasoned and based on substantiated facts. Consistent with the spirit of fairness and cooperation so crucial in educational athletics, the District asks that everyone involved continue to exercise prudence and restraint in not rushing to premature judgment of any student or school without the benefit of all relevant information. Once again, the District’s administrators, faculty, staff, and student body join Taylor Allderdice in categorically standing against racism and homophobia and in seeking to hold wrongdoers accountable. We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation throughout this process.”
Parents and grandparents on both sides of the issue dispute what happened on the field. Allderdice parents said it was the other school that made racist slurs.
"He was upset. For him, the bigger deal is it seemed like nobody was doing anything about it," said Sumaya Mahmoud.
She said her son was targeted.
"He gets up and the Allderdice student says something to my grandson that I won't repeat," said Jeff Rowan.
Rowan said his grandson denies making any racial comments.
Each school had its own investigation that came up inconclusive.
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