Reporting Lisa Fielding
UPDATED 05/23/11 8:06 p.m.
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WBBM/STMW) – Complaints that two Naperville North High School freshman lacrosse players were the targets of racial slurs before a game against Wheaton Warrenville South have prompted an investigation by Wheaton Warrenville officials. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding has the story.
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Rosalind Crosby, who lodged the complaint, said the incident, based on her twin sons’ accounts, has her questioning their safety at future events, she said.
Rashad Crosby said the slurs aimed at him and his brother, Sharad, came from a van parked near his team’s bus and were yelled while the Naperville North team exited before the game, which Wheaton Warrenville hosted. The two are the only African-American players on the Naperville North freshman team.
“They just kept yelling and laughing, like it was really funny,” Rashad said.
He said the same group of individuals was at the game, and while he didn’t hear slurs during play, other taunting continued.
“Saying things like that, you can incite a riot, you can have fights,” Rosalind Crosby said. “My sons felt really unsafe.”
Bob Rammer, assistant superintendent for operations at Wheaton Warrenville School District 200, said district officials were made aware of the situation earlier Monday through a letter the Crosby sent to the district. They immediately launched an investigation.
Boys Athletic Director Mike Healy reached out to Crosby to offer his apologies, and officials are vigorously trying to locate the source or sources. Rammer does not believe any of the lacrosse players made the comment, but they are still trying to determine whether it came from a District 200 student.
Roughly 2,400 students attend Wheaton Warrenville South and Friday’s game attracted a sizable crowd, he said.
“Our first indication at best is we don’t think it was one of our players,” he said.
However, Healy plans to talk with all of the players today in hopes of locating who was involved. Rammer said if it is discovered that a District 200 student made the racial slur, proper disciplinary action will be followed. This could result in anything from detention to suspension from all school activities.
Should it be a member of the community, school officials could decide to ban that person from future sporting events.
But regardless, Rammer said this is not the type of attitude or behavior promoted, taught or tolerated in District 200.
They are also very regretful and apologetic for the “discomfort this mother’s sons experienced on campus.”
“This is not OK. This is not acceptable behavior, whether it is on our field or in the hallways,” he said.
Naperville District 203 Director of Communications Susan Rice said the district is aware of the situation. Though she said it is her understanding none of the epithets were used during the match, she said fans continued “obnoxious behavior.”
“As they were actually playing the game, the freshman lacrosse coach Thomas Champion indicated that he asked one of the referees about addressing the obnoxious behavior of the fans,” she said, adding that the referees did nothing to quiet the fans.
Rice said when matches are hosted at Naperville North, more aggressive methods of crowd control are used when fans get out of hand. She also said the district wishes someone would have said something to those who were yelling and chanting.
“We are disappointed the individuals sitting near these offenders did nothing to stop the behavior,” she said.
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