PENN HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) — The Penn Hills School District superintendent said his schools will not play any games against the Kiski Area School District for the remainder of the school year.
The decision comes after allegations of racial comments and gestures by some Kiski fans towards Penn Hills Middle School volleyball players.
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Penn Hills Superintendent Nancy Hines told KDKA-TV on Tuesday that several boys from Kiski’s student section allegedly made racial comments and gestures towards Penn Hills volleyball players after a March 2 game.
Seventh-year volleyball player Nyeila Ferguson did not hear the remarks but described to KDKA what other players told her.
“They just said they called us monkeys and made monkey noises,” Ferguson said.
Hines said the two districts began their own investigations the next day and notified WPIAL. Hines said he interviewed seven volleyball players and a parent who said they saw and/or heard offensive behavior.
Hines said she chose not to ask the WPIAL to investigate the matter, citing that the process has not been positive and will likely introduce more trauma.
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“Our PH experience with this process has not been positive and leads me to believe that this option will likely introduce more trauma to this group of young women who were afraid to speak up in the moment and be the cause of an interruption of the process. game,” a statement from Hines said. “A WPIAL hearing is a formal process that can be very intimidating, as it usually includes formal testimony, and those who testify could be subject to cross-examination. Beyond that, I’m not convinced that WPIAL would impose any penalties beyond sensitivity training, even if they ruled in our favor.
Instead, the superintendent said she informed WPIAL and Kiski officials that Penn Hills would not compete against Kiski, hold any events against Kiski, or travel there for the remainder of the year. school year.
“She needs to support us somehow, and that’s how she found to be able to support us right now,” said Penn Hills parent Leslie Mallon. “But if it’s ultimately going to impact the playoffs of other sports, it’s not fair.”
Kiski Area Superintendent Misty Slavic told KDKA that she was surprised and saddened by the decision to cancel the remaining matches, especially as the investigation is ongoing and he has not not confirmed that the reported incident occurred.
“We will continue to review all statements and evidence as they become available and will work with Penn Hills administration to resolve this dispute,” Slavic said in a statement.
WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said she was in contact with both schools and was working on the situation.
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She said there were possible penalties for Penn Hills refusing to play Kiski, although the WPIAL board should review the situation before a penalty is imposed.