CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) – Parents at Taylor Allderdice High School say their kids were subjected to derogatory comments from athletes on the Connellsville, Fayette County team.
It happened during a match between the teams over the Labor Day Holiday, but since then, Allderdice parents say not enough has been done.
In an open letter to WPIAL officials, parents are now calling for action, and so is the Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
This is now an investigation, but it began as a fun non-section game over the Labor Day holiday.
Belle Vernon was hosting the Allderdice and Connellsville boys high school soccer teams. That’s when parents say racist slurs were made to two Allderdice players by Connellsville players, and some even used physical intimidation on the field.
Sept. 1, the Taylor Allderdice boys soccer team played Connellsville during a tournament game along with multiple other schools at Belle Vernon. On the field, Allderdice parents say Connellsville players “goaded” one black and one Latino member of the Allderdice team with racial slurs.
More than 30 Taylor Allderdice High School parents have now signed an open letter to the WPIAL, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.
The letter begins by stating racism is alive and well on the fields of Western Pennsylvania high school sports and states: “No one addressed the inciting slurs and the Connellsville coach has denied wrongdoing by his players.”
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and administration have filed a complaint with WPIAL regarding the incident and have released a statement saying: “No student should be subjected to any racial slurs in a space that is to encourage healthy competition, teamwork and camaraderie.”
The Labor Day game incident is not the first one involving the Connellsville team.
In the letter to the WPIAL, parents point out a 2018 incident also involving the Connellsville boys varsity soccer team where players used “racially insensitive comments” as well as some “racial slurs” directed at Penn Hills players.
The parent letter to the WPIAL also asks the league, “So why are we here again? Why has another group of boys been subjected to racist taunting from Connellsville without redress?”
Superintendent Hamlet’s statement to the district goes on to say, “While at this time the Connellsville administration has been unable to substantiate the reports as part of its investigation, they have informed us that they are taking actions on their end to create a teachable moment for student-athletes.”
The parent letter to the WPIAL also attaches a change.org petition which is circulating on social media and has some 1,500 signatures at last count tonight.
The petition is demanding the PIAA and WPIAL strengthen and enforce policies on racial intolerance. We reached out to both WPIAL as well as the Connellsville school district and did not receive any calls back so far.