RI Soccer Association pushing for one-year sports ban in Burrillville following alleged racist taunts
BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WLNE) – All eyes are on Burrillville High School sports after videos spread showing alleged racial taunting at a volleyball game last month.
The Rhode Island Soccer Association has stepped in, posting on Facebook Saturday, asking that the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) suspend Burrillville from sports competitions for one year.
“They’re punishing the athletes when it wasn’t the athletes that are being accused of the racism, it was the spectators,” said Burrillville parent Tracey Keegan.
The spectators, dressed in red white and blue, were accused of being racist towards the Central Falls girls’ volleyball team.
“I was there. I 100 percent didn’t hear any such things be said.”
One Burrillville mom we spoke to, who was in the stands that night, didn’t want to be identified over the fear of backlash.
“There have been threats against our town, our students. You have to take that seriously nowadays and we’re scared. It’s a shame that, for something that is not even proven, so much hatred and anger has been brought about from this.”
She said the whole incident was a theme night misinterpreted, and that the students dress up each week to support their teams.
“The boys wore red white and blue and sang patriotic songs. That’s all they’re guilty of.”
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League issued a statement Monday, saying the RI Soccer Association has no affiliation or standing with the RIIL and its member schools.
Executive Director Thomas Mezzanotte went on to say that the League asked both Burrillville and Central Falls school districts to conduct investigations into the incident.
“Upon completion of those investigations, the RIIL Principals’ Committee on Athletics will review all information and render a decision,” said Mezzanotte.
Burrillville’s superintendent Dr. Michael Sollitto told ABC6 that their investigation has completed. Below is a letter sent to parents last week.
Superintendent of the Central Falls school district Stephanie Downey-Toledo said to ABC6 that both districts have worked collaboratively, and will present their findings at a hearing on Friday with the RIIL.
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