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Greenfield teens claim athletic director used racial slur toward student, wear shirts to make a statement

Varsity boys basketball coach resigns amid incident
Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 23:19:21-05

GREENFIELD, Wis. — The varsity boys basketball coach at Greenfield High School resigned as the school investigates an incident between a member of the team and the athletic director.

Some Greenfield High School families want the athletic director out after claiming he repeatedly used a racist term against a student.

It's a word that got a Philadelphia 76ers fan banned for life from Wells Fargo Center just last week.

Seventeen-year-old Omar Surveyor said last week the athletic director Trent Lower said something to him while Omar was trying to get a cell phone back from a friend.

"He goes, 'come on boy we're going in the lunchroom right now boy. Do you wanna be called boy now?' I'm like don't call me boy," Surveyor said. "I didn't like it at all I thought it was beyond racist. I told him multiple times don't call me that word I don't like it, and he continued to call me that same word over and over again."

"Omar is pretty laid-back so for him to be that upset I was really upset," said Beverly Juarez, Surveyor's mother.

In response, Omar's teammates on the varsity basketball team wore practice t-shirts that said "My name is not 'Boy'" as they got ready for a game to show their support and to make a point.

"I just couldn't believe it in these days and times with everything that's going on in the world. Our boys are amazing boys, all of them. They don't get in trouble," said Jerome Smith, who has a son on the basketball team.

"The principal seemed very appalled. He was very bothered by what he said, but we haven't heard anything else," Juarez said.

TMJ4 News requested an interview with the athletic director and the superintendent. We received a statement from the district that said Greenfield High School's principal met with concerned parents and students and that the district could not comment on specifics from the conversations.

Families said they hope the voices of these student athletes are heard.

"He's an authority figure. He's someone you're supposed to look up to not someone that you should be intimidated by or scared of. There's a little anger, a lot of frustration," Juarez said.

As he works through what happened, Surveyor said he wants people to remember this.

"Not to let anyone discriminate you by your color or treat you a different way due to your skin color," Surveyor said.

The district said it may investigate further if information from those conversations with parents and students warrants it. The school board president says they are investigating the claim.

Late Wednesday, the Greenfield High School principal Todd Willems sent parents a letter acknowledging the incident involving Lower. Willems announced a listening session Friday February 4 at 3:30 p.m. as part of an ongoing investigation and action plan. Lower and Willems are expected to attend the session.

The principal's letter also announced the head varsity boys basketball coach submitted his resignation.

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