Fairfax County schools deal with allegations of racism at football games | Education

Joan S. Reed

Leaders at both Fairfax County and Alexandria schools in Virginia shared what actions they are taking after allegations of racism and abuse at a junior varsity football game Monday night.

Robinson Secondary School student-athletes from Fairfax County are accused of spitting on a player from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria during the game and using a racial slur to describe the player.

“Fairfax County Public Schools is aware of a number of allegations regarding the use of racially charged language and racial slurs in the past few weeks,” Lucy H. Caldwell, spokeswoman for Fairfax County schools, said in a statement.

She said the school system plans to investigate the most recent allegations, which come two weeks after student-athletes at another Fairfax County high school were accused of similar behavior during a football game.

T.C. Williams High School Principal Peter Balas said in a letter to parents and students posted on Twitter that he has been in touch with the athletic staff at Robinson Secondary.

“You may have seen posts on social media regarding these allegations and I want to assure Titan students and families that we are taking this matter seriously … We are supporting students to ensure that they have an opportunity to share their account and they will be provided with resources from our student support team,” Balas wrote. 

FCPS plans to hold what it calls a “stand-down” meeting for all teams and coaches to begin an open conversation about the appropriate behaviors required to play sports in the school system.

“We recognize that we have much work to do in our schools and will continue to strive to promote equity, sportsmanship, respect, and fair play on and off the field,” Caldwell said.

Per Virginia High School League rules, players heard using such language will be ejected and suspended for an additional game or games. Unsportsmanlike conduct will result in an immediate review of the game by officials and coaches.

Both school districts said the incident is under investigation.

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