No Niskayuna students have been found responsible for racist comments directed at Schenectady girls' soccer players during a Niskayuna home game in October, Niskayuna Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. said.
Multiple Schenectady players said they heard racist comments from groups of Niskayuna students during the game, and officials in both districts confirmed racist comments were made during the game, but an investigation of the incident fell short of identifying the students who made the comments, Tangorra said after a school board meeting Tuesday.
He said the investigation would be held in “abeyance” until new information emerges.
When interviewed about the soccer game earlier this fall, Schenectady soccer captain Alexis Maye said she heard some Niskayuna students and adults questioned whether the comments had really been made. She said Schenectady players had no reason to make up the claim, pointing out they frequently found themselves losing to suburban districts around the region. She also said she and her teammates understand the seriousness of using racist language.
“We lost all season long; why would we, out of nowhere, [claim racism]?” Maye said. “That’s not something to lie about; it’s unacceptable for them to say that. They just can’t accept the fact that their own kids in Niskayuna say that.”
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Students from Niskayuna, Schenectady and Mohonasen school districts met at Union College on Thursday to discuss the differences among the districts and to attempt to dispel misconceptions. The event restarted a tradition that had been in place for more than a decade, organized by Schenectady County Embraces Diversity, and organizers on Thursday pointed to the soccer game as a reason to ramp up productive conversations among students from different districts.
During a lunch break, some Schenectady High School students said they weren’t surprised Niskayuna could not identify who was responsible for the comments and that not holding specific students accountable could send a message to students that they can get away with that behavior.
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