Bethel Park investigating reported racial remarks to Woodland Hills band
The Bethel Park School District is investigating reports of racially charged remarks directed toward members of the Woodland Hills High School marching band following an Aug. 31 football game at Bethel Park Stadium.
Woodland Hills High School Principal Phillip Woods confirmed the incident during an interview with the Tribune-Review.
Bethel Park, in a statement, said “inappropriate comments and actions” were made.
Details shared with Woodland Hills staff during and after the game were turned over to Bethel Park administrators, Woods said. He said he was not aware of a specific person or description of a person being investigated.
Woods emphasized that Bethel Park fans sitting in the student section were polite during the game. The remarks and obscenities in question did not originate from the student section, he said.
“It was explained to us that the comments did not come from our Marching Band Members or our Student Section,” said the statement from Bethel Park, shared with the Trib by Director of Public Relations Vicki Flotta. “They came from a group of younger students who were in the area around the lower concession stand.”
Bethel Park will increase security in areas of the stadium where students hang out during games, the statement said.
Principals will also speak with students to remind them that “harassing language” is not tolerated and those who participate in such actions will be subject to the Student Disciplinary Code, the statement said.
“We deeply regret that this happened, because the District does not tolerate or condone this type of behavior,” the statement said. “We have extended our apologies to the Woodland Hills School District and are conducting an investigation to identify those individuals who were involved.”
The Bethel Park and Woodland Hills communities were involved in a similar incident in 2016 after a Woodland Hills Youth Football League coach reported that racial slurs were yelled at three black players who kneeled during the national anthem. The players on that team were 12 and 13.
That investigation was handled by officials from the Parkway Youth Football League and board members from Bethel Park Junior Football. It was deemed inconclusive due to a lack of evidence.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.