WESTFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A "racial incident" that occurred at a Wayland vs. Westford girls' varsity basketball game in late January has resulted in the cancellation of any spring athletic events between the two school districts.
In correspondence between the two school districts' superintendents released by Westford Public Schools, Wayland Superintendent Dr. Omar Easy said the incident was "racist, disparaging, and insensitive." Easy said that one of their athletes was targeted and referred to as a "pineapple head," and told "you need to hit the gym," and "what does it feel like to be the only black player on the team."
"It is inconceivable that one of our students had to endure such disrespectful behavior throughout the entire game," Easy said in a letter to Chew on Thursday.
Easy said that due to the incident Wayland Public Schools has decided not to compete in any athletics events this spring against Westford Public Schools, a decision that Westford Superintendent Dr. Christopher Chew said their school district understands.
Chew said in a letter on Friday that the comments made from students in their bleachers were unacceptable and that Westford will hold the students responsible for the "verbal attack" accountable.
"We take full responsibility for this outrage and want to do our best to support the healing process for the student athlete targeted by this behavior as well as supporting her teammates and peers shaken by this event," Chew said.
Chris Sanders of the Westford School Committee said in a Facebook post that while the community has done good work with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion, there is still more to be done.
"I'm heartbroken over this, but also hopeful that some positive growth can and will come out of it," Sanders said.
Both superintendents said their school districts are willing to collaborate in the future to create an anti-racist environment for all students.