BURRILLVILLE – School officials in Central Falls are calling on the Rhode Island Interscholastic League to take action following remarks made by Burrillville students at a girls’ volleyball game on Tuesday, Sept. 25 that they say were racist and discriminatory.
The Broncos won the home game 3-0 against the Central Falls team, and fans watching the match had chosen a “red, white and blue theme,” with some draping themselves in American flags, according to reports.
According to an article in the Providence Journal, the Central Falls coach and others watching the game say that Burrillville fans chanted a number of racist slurs, and tried to intimidate players in the parking lot after the game.
Supt. Michael Sollitto has said that the school is conducting an investigation, and that anyone found to have made such comments will be dealt with severely and swiftly. He has also vowed to have more supervision in the school’s parking lot for future games.
Officials from RIISC have reportedly asked coaches from both teams to weigh in.
Central Falls Supt. Stephanie Downey Toledo released a statement, saying that the event was not an isolated incident.
“Our Central Falls students and families have shared that biased and racist acts, to different levels, occur game after game, year after year, even decade after decade,” noted Downey Toledo. “Our community member shared this morning that the same words of ‘Go back to your country,’ which were screamed toward our student athletes last night, were screamed at him when he played soccer for Central Falls High School in the 1980s.
“We are formally requesting that the RI Scholastic League take action so that student-athletes across the state do not need to continue to face this same discrimination.”
It is not the first time this year victims have complained of incidents of racism at the school, which is predominantly white. In February, a student brought an incident to school officials after her peers reportedly posted a racial slur on a projector screen while she was giving a report.
The news comes as the school celebrates “Hello Week,” an effort to emphasize inclusion and curb bullying at the BHS.