Referees Punish Penn Hills Soccer Players Who Were Targets of Racial Slurs

The Connellsville Area School District said it’s investigating claims by Penn Hills students and parents who say racial slurs were being used during a varsity soccer match between the Pennsylvania high schools.

Nancy Hines the superintendent of Penn Hills School District scrapped all sports games against Connellsville until the allegations of hate speech have been completely investigated by the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League.

Hines told the Tribune Review, “It was so disturbing that it warranted our position and immediate involvement of WPIAL.” She said Penn Hills will not travel to Connellsville until the situation is resolved.

Penns Hill
(photo credit: WTAE screenshot)

A soccer game took place between Penn Hills and Connellsville athletes on Sept 6. Lisa Silverman, a mother of a Penn Hills player said fans and students from the opposing side began taunting a Black student. In annoyance, the student turned around and told the Connellsville student section to “shut up.”

Silverman, who’s white said the referees failed to address “the racial hatred directed at our players” and “continued to ignore what was happening in the stands and on the field.” She said game officials chastised the Black players who were being harassed instead of the student sections throwing around racial slurs.

The witness’ son Jonah Silverman said the incident affected all the players. He said they told the referees about the name calling, but game officials did nothing about it.

“We felt helpless,” said Jonah.

Joseph Bradley, the superintendent of Connellsville School District, said they’re taking the matter seriously and will not tolerate foul conduct from fans, students or the players.

“Let alone ones of the disgusting nature and or gravity of this type,” Bradley stated to the news source. “At this point, CASD is fully cooperating with Penn Hills School District and the WPIAL as we seek to fully investigate, apply appropriate consequences or programmatic changes, and ultimately provide a teachable moment to all involved.”

Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League states that the meeting for the board of directors will be Sept. 17.

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