MONTPELIER, Vermont (AP) – The Vermont Principals’ Association has announced new policies to prevent hate speech during sports games after several reported incidents of racist and sexist comments in recent high school games.
During a boys’ soccer match in Winooski-Enosburg last month, a few Enosburg players were accused of making racist statements. The Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union said it had conducted an investigation and found no evidence for such statements, but could not interview the Winooski athletes as they refused to meet with investigators. Days after that game, Burlington volleyball players faced racist and transphobic comments.
“We don’t have that anymore. And if someone does, we’ll take action against them, ”said Jay Nichols, executive director of the Vermont Principals Association.
Schools must read a statement before each event instructing athletes and spectators to behave respectfully or face the consequences, according to new rules released on Tuesday. The VPA has launched an online system where concerns can be reported and officials, such as referees, are to participate in implicit bias training this winter.
“We want kids to challenge people who say sexist or racist things to them or attack them for their religion or gender identity or whatever,” Nichols said.