Students and administrators of two Montgomery County high schools were to begin a series of meetings on Monday to “repair the harm” after students at one school targeted students at the other school with racist remarks during two recent athletic events.
In a letter to the Albert Einstein High School community on Thursday, Sherwood High School Principal Tim Britton wrote that members of its student cheering section made “racist remarks directed toward” Einstein students during a girls soccer game on Sept. 30. While investigating that incident, administrators learned that students also made “racist and sexist remarks” to a member of the Einstein volleyball team on Oct. 4, he wrote. He did not give specifics about what the remarks were.
“I categorically condemn any, and all, racist behavior from our students and community,” Britton wrote in his letter. “This is not who we are as a school and this behavior does not align with our core values. We are an inclusive and welcoming school that is committed to and will continue to do intentional and important work around race and equity with our staff, students, and parents. Further, I want to assure you that there is no place for this type of behavior and it will not be tolerated by me.”
He wrote that the school is investigating the incidents and that anyone who participated will face “serious consequences.”
But, in the meantime, he wrote that he planned to meet with Sherwood students on Friday to “reiterate our expectations for student and fan behavior.” And, on Monday, a group of students and administrators were expected to travel to Einstein for the first of a series of meetings “to better understand the pain and hurt these actions have caused.”
The Washington Post first reported about the incidents on Sunday. The Post reported that the slurs used were made toward Asian students.
In response to the racist comments, Sherwood students were not allowed to attend a boys soccer game at Einstein on Friday, unless they were accompanied by a parent, according to a message sent to community members by Einstein Principal Mark Brown.
He wrote that he, Britton and Director of Systemwide Athletics Jeff Sullivan met to discuss and address the incidents. And, while the series of meetings between the school communities help, the people who participated “need to be addressed directly and specifically.”
“Being part of an athletic team and attending athletic events are privileges that can be taken away,” Brown wrote. “I want to thank our students and our community for reporting such egregious behavior, and for not responding in kind.”
Chris Cram, a spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools, said in an emailed statement on Monday morning: “These incidents are abhorrent and unacceptable. They are upsetting to our community and disruptive to school operations. MCPS cannot tolerate statements or actions that harm or discriminate against others.
“Students must feel safe in school to learn. They need to know that they are physically, socially and psychologically well taken care of. They need an environment where they are valued. They need schools and communities free of hate and bias.”
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org