Black doll hung in locker room was prank

Dis­trict de­ter­mines in­ci­dent not racially mo­ti­vated

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

COATESVILLE » Coatesville Area School Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Cathy Taschner said that the stu­dents re­spon­si­ble for hang­ing a black baby doll from a locker room ceil­ing said it was a “fool­ish prank.”

When school of­fi­cials found the doll hang­ing with a neck tie around it, their ini­tial con­cern was that the doll was in­tended to cause racial in­tim­i­da­tion. How­ever, af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter, Taschner on Wed­nes­day said the stu­dents de­scribed it as a “fool­ish prank.” She says the stu­dents will still face dis­ci­pline over it.

In a let­ter to par­ents, she wrote that mem­bers of the Coatesville Area Se­nior High boys cross coun­try team found the doll in a trash can at a meet in early Septem­ber and be­gan play­ing with it un­til a coach threw the doll back in the trash can. Un­be­knownst to the coaches, some team mem­bers re­trieved it from the trash and stuffed it into an open ceil­ing tile in their locker room. It

“This in­ci­dent is of­fen­sive, in­sen­si­tive and not re­flec­tive of the kind of be­hav­ior we ex­pect or will tol­er­ate from our stu­dents.”

— Cathy Taschner, Coatesville Area School Dis­trict su­per­in­ten­dent

was there for sev­eral weeks, ac­cord­ing to school of­fi­cials, un­til a team mem­ber used his tie to hang it down from the ceil­ing, where it was re­cently dis­cov­ered.

The in­ci­dent was re­ported to the school po­lice for in­ves­ti­ga­tion and to the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

“While team mem­bers in­ter­viewed by ad­min­is­tra­tors indi-

cated this was a fool­ish prank and that their in­tent was not to cause racial in­tim­i­da­tion, we can­not ac­cept that rea­son­ing,” Taschner said in the let­ter. “This in­ci­dent is of­fen­sive, in­sen­si­tive and not re­flec­tive of the kind of be­hav­ior we ex­pect or will tol­er­ate

from our stu­dents.”

She added that the “Coatesville Area School Dis­trict does not tol­er­ate or con­done hate crimes of any kind, nor will we tol­er­ate any kind of racial in­sen­si­tiv­ity.”

Coatesville stu­dents have re­cently faced such be­hav­iors from stu­dents out­side the dis­trict dur­ing school ac­tiv­i­ties, and from former Coatesville ad­min­is­tra­tors.

North Penn High School

stu­dents al­legedly shouted racial slurs and deroga­tory words to­ward Coatesville stu­dents dur­ing a foot­ball game at North Penn in Lans­dale in Mont­gomery County last Novem­ber. Both schools in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter.

The Daily Lo­cal News also re­ported on two former Coatesville ad­min­is­tra­tors, then-su­per­in­ten­dent Richard Como and former ath­letic di­rec­tor James

Donato III, when dis­trict of­fi­cials re­port­edly found racist and sex­ist mes­sages on their dis­trict-is­sued cell­phones in 2013. They have since been charged with felony theft from the dis­trict and state ethics law vi­o­la­tions. Como has an up­com­ing trial while Donato pleaded guilty.

“We have worked ex­tremely hard over the last sev­eral years to en­sure that we are do­ing our best to crethat

“We have worked ex­tremely hard over the last sev­eral years to en­sure that we are do­ing our best to cre­ate learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments that sup­port and pro­mote tol­er­ance, re­spect, and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for di­ver­sity.” — Cathy Taschner, Coatesville Area School Dis­trict su­per­in­ten­dent

ate learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments sup­port and pro­mote tol­er­ance, re­spect, and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for di­ver­sity,” Taschner said. “We fo­cus tremen­dous ef­forts on en­sur­ing that we have train­ing and sys­tems in place to stamp out racism, big­otry, and in­jus­tice.”

Ad­min­is­tra­tors are meet­ing with cross coun­try team mem­bers and their par­ents to dis­cuss the mat­ter, and dis­ci­plinary ac­tion will fol­low. The in­ci­dent has been re­ported to the Penn­syl­va­nia Hu­man Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion, the Mid At­lantic Eq­uity Cen­ter, the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Col­ored Peo­ple (NAACP), and the Ch­ester County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice.

Visit Daily Lo­cal News staff writer Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar’s blog about jour­nal­ism and vol­un­teer­ing as a fire­fighter at Fire­fight­erGinger.blogspot.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.