PITTSBURGH (AP) — Armed police officers have been escorting a western Pennsylvania high school’s sports teams to games at another school following allegations that its own soccer team used racial slurs during a game last month.
School police officers traveled with Connellsville Area High School athletic teams to away games at Penn Hills High School this week.
The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League investigated after Penn Hills officials said Connellsville soccer players used slurs during a Sept. 6 game.
Officials concluded that allegations made by Penn Hills officials were “reasonably credible,” but they were not certain to have occurred.
Penn Hills Superintendent Nancy Hines said Connellsville’s decision to bring armed security was “culturally insensitive” and asked league officials to discourage the other school from doing it.
She wrote in a letter to district employees that Connellsville brought the guards to games at least three times in the past week, but never before.
She said they positioned themselves near the Connellsville teams’ benches and escorted players to the bathrooms and locker rooms.
Spectators were not allowed at a boys’ soccer game Monday.
Connellsville Area School District Superintendent Joseph Bradley described the practice of bringing school officers to “appropriate away events” as standard practice. He said school police officers attend all home games, all playoff games and other games that involve rivalries or large crowds.
Connellsville is a predominantly white school; Penn Hills has a high percentage of black students.
The league has directed Connellsville Area School District student athletes to participate in racial and cultural sensitivity training.
Following reports that Connellsville students, fans and players used racial slurs during the Sept. 6 soccer game, Penn Hills officials halted all games with Connellsville and sought a league investigation.
The league concluded late last month that although it was not certain that slurs were used by players, the Penn Hills’ players were credible. The league determined that it was “likely that at least some racial slurs or racially insensitive comments were directed to a Penn Hills player or players.”
After the investigation, Penn Hills announced it would resume playing teams from Connellsville.