Thursday, February 23, 2012

WPIAL press release regarding boys basketball game between Monessen and Brentwood

From the WPIAL office:

"After carefully listening to and considering the testimony and evidence presented by no less than nine witnesses over the span of approximately three hours (Tuesday) concerning the Feb. 3 boys basketball game between Brentwood High School and Monessen Sr. High School, the WPIAL Board of Control consisting of seventeen members with hundreds of years of collective educational and/or amateur athletic experience issued a decision letter (Wednesday) morning to Brentwood and Monessen.

In the decision letter, the Board determined that Brentwood administrators and security officials took swift, decisive and appropriate action in addressing the limited disturbances which took place prior to, during or after the game, including but not limited to, the immediate ejection and subsequent suspension of the two students dressed in banana costumes because they ran onto the court in violation of contest and school rules. Thus, neither Brentwood, Monessen nor any of their respective employees or representatives will be subject to penalties such as suspension, probation or public ensure as a result of the events that took place prior to, during or after the game.

The Board made no specific findings based upon the substantial testimony and evidence presented that any Brentwood student, student-athlete or fan in fact used racial slurs or engaged in racially insensitive behavior. However, the Board also found that a strong perception exists within the Monessen community that Brentwood students and/or fans have engaged and/or will continue to engage in racially insensitive behavior. Whether the perception is well-founded based upon alleged events which occurred on Feb. 3 or prior to thereto is irrelevant. The fact that such a perception exists is a problem that the Board strongly believes must be dealt with swiftly and proactively.

To their credit, both school districts expressed the desire to work proactively together, with WPIAL's assistance, to prevent any similar situations from occurring in the future and turn what has thus far been a negative experience into a positive one. As a result, the Board directed the Brentwood and Monessen high school principals to work cooperatively with each other and their student bodies in formulating a joint action plan designed to (a) promote the spirit of sportsmanship that WPIAL expects at all contests; (b) promote the fact that all individual must be treated with dignity and respect at all WPIAL contests; (c) make clear that Brentwood, Monessen and WPIAL will not tolerate the use of racial slurs or other forms of racial intimidation at WPIAL contests; and (d) make clear to students and student-athletes that the use of racial slurs or other forms of racial intimidation at WPIAL contests will lead to their immediate ejections from a contest and perhaps other disciplinary measures.

The joint action plan must be submitted for the Board's review and approval on or before June 1. A member of the Board has been tasked with assisting Brentwood and Monessen in formulating the joint action plan and monitoring their efforts. The Board member will be meeting with the respective principals within the next three weeks to discuss a strategy going forward. WPIAL's offices have been made available to both school districts for purposes of meeting and formulating the joint action plan."

No comments: