Social media exploded last night, with allegations of antisemitic and racist behavior by Cheshire High School students at last night’s football game against Staples.
Images of an Israeli flag, and charges of racist chants, were shared widely. Host Cheshire defeated the visiting Wreckers in a non-league game, 42-14.
This morning, Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice promised to investigate fully, and take action if necessary. At the same time, he urged caution and no rush to judgment, until all the facts are clear.
“Late last night I was made aware of a number of social media posts alleging antisemitic and racist actions and comments directed towards Staples players and students during the Staples/Cheshire High School football game in Cheshire. I want to assure the community that any allegations such as these are taken with the utmost seriousness.
“I’d like to share some of the steps we’ve already taken. I received a message from the Cheshire Superintendent at 11:40pm last night, and he assured me that the district and Cheshire law enforcement are investigating this matter. We will continue to communicate until we have reached a resolution.
“I have spoken to Stafford Thomas, Staples principal, and Marty Lisevick, Staples athletic director, and they will speak with each and every Staples student or adult who has factual information about this matter. “First Selectman Jim Marpe and I spoke this morning, and it is confirmed that our police chief, Foti Koskinas, will be in contact with the Cheshire police chief.
“Perhaps most helpful in addressing this matter is the instant support that I received from the Director of the Connecticut Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League, Steve Ginsburg. Steve has already spoken with me and Chief Koskinas, and to representatives from Cheshire, including their superintendent and police chief. We are all committed to cooperating, investigating, and addressing this matter.
“This incident was brought to light by some damning images and posts on social media. Given the volatility of social media, I caution all members of the community to take a measured approach in addressing matters such as these. It is necessary for the school administrations, and police departments when necessary, to gather facts before taking punitive action. If we confirm acts of anti-Semitism or race-based hate, we will assertively act. If there are misunderstandings, we will work together to learn from these events.
“Our school administration will continue its investigation and follow up at the end of the day on Monday. If you were present at the game and have information of any acts of antisemitism or race-based hate, please contact the Staples administration.”