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Burlington school officials address racial slur in virtual class, 'vulgar word' on field

Posted at 8:58 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 23:22:23-05

BURLINGTON — School officials in Burlington are responding after they investigated racial slurs in a virtual class and poor sportsmanship on the football field. This comes after it investigated two other racial incidents this fall.

Burlington school officials are addressing two separate incidents involving the high school in the past few weeks.

In a statement, the district says it investigated an allegation that a varsity football player said a racial slur to a Westosha Central player during a game on Oct. 22.

The district says during the game, a Westosha student reported to his coach that a Burlington player used a racial slur. The coach then talked to the game officials. Game officials say they heard the Burlington player use a vulgar word, but not a racial slur.

Darnisha Garbade is filing a complaint with the WIAA. She heads up the Burlington coalition to dismantle racism.

“We’ve been making a lot of noise and trying to bring awareness to it, but there’s racism everywhere and if you can’t see it then I think you need to do a better job of looking for it,” Garbade says.

A spokesperson for the WIAA said this is the first report of its kind about this school and it is encouraging the organization to work with school leaders.

Last week at Burlington High School, the district says an unauthorized person disrupted a virtual class and repeated a racial slur several times before a teacher was able to disconnect the meeting.

Police are now trying to find out who that person was.

In September, Superintendent Steve Plank sent out a letter after he says a racial slur was found spray-painted on the concrete floor inside the new Karcher Middle School building.

And the week before that, he says a racial slur was found etched into the wood chips outside cooper elementary.

The school district worked with police to investigate both of these.

"Clearly there’s a need here in Burlington to have anti-racist policies and curriculum,” said Garbade.

Garbade's group will attend the school board meeting Monday to get an update on its sample anti-racism policy it provided to the board, with the hope it will be adopted by the district and implemented in all schools.

The district says it's been working on re-writing all of its policies since March. In a statement the district says it rejects all forms of racism.

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