DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Weld School District officials Sunday called a Denver high school principal’s claims of racism false and unfair.
Manual High School principal Nick Dawkins sent a letter to parents Saturday describing the flying of a Confederate flag by Weld Central High School fans at Friday night’s football game in Denver.
Dawkins said in the letter that Manual players reported being taunted with racial slurs while being tackled by Weld Central players.
The letter was posted to the Denver Public Schools’s Facebook page Saturday evening.
A joint response from Weld County RE3J School District Superintendent Greg Rabenhorst and Weld Central High School Principal Dan Kennedy was released early Sunday afternoon.
“As of today, evidence supports that our team and community were unfairly represented with what appears to be significantly inaccurate information presented to the Manual community and the media,” the release stated. “The facts as we know them today do not support the claims reported by Manual officials.”
The Weld officials said their investigation is not finished, but evidence to this point does not support the claims by Manual’s principal.
“Multiple school officials have viewed a video recording of the game which contains footage of the Weld Central crowd. From our viewings, no signs of a confederate flag exist. Further, we have no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior on or off the field.”
Weld Central has cancelled all future competitions with Manual until further notice.
The Colorado High School Activities Association, which oversees the state’s high schools’ involvement in competitive sports, released a Memorandum of Understanding Sunday: “Students are learning how to be involved in something bigger than themselves and we look to coaches, administrators and parents to model what’s important in our world today.”
Weld Central’s Statement:
Weld Central and all Re-3J families,
Many have heard the reports about the WCHS football game against Denver’s Manual High School this past Friday. We have been asked to make an official statement by several media sources. While the investigation is not complete, we feel it is important to update our community on the matter and to strongly denounce any form of racism.
As of today, evidence supports that our team and community were unfairly represented with what appears to be significantly inaccurate information presented to the Manual community and the media. The facts as we know them today do not support the claims reported by Manual officials. It was reported that our spectators displayed a confederate flag during the first quarter of the game. Our eyewitness staff and community members present at the game report that this did not occur. Multiple school officials have viewed a video recording of the game which contains footage of the Weld Central crowd. From our viewings, no signs of a confederate flag exist. Further, we have no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior on or off the field. High school administration was present and monitored student and crowd behavior throughout the game. At no point was any behavior displayed that required intervention.
We are not certain what may have led to what currently appears to be false accusations toward our team and spectators. Our administration will continue to investigate what happened, work collaboratively with Manual administration, and seek intervention from CHSAA as appropriate. At this point we have unilaterally cancelled future competitions with Manual High School until further notice.
The Re-3J Board of Education and administration do not condone any form of racism, including symbols of racism and hatred and racial slurs toward or about others. That type of behavior is unacceptable and far beneath the standards and expectations of our student code of conduct. As we investigate the incident to its completion, any behavior of this form found to be true will be subject to discipline. In the event any accusations are substantiated, we as a district will take full responsibility in condemning such behavior and disciplining students as appropriate.
We want to assure all of our community members and those communities we interact with that we do not tolerate racism of any form. The confederate flag and any other symbols of hate and racism play no role in our district. We hope that you will join us in condemning racism in all communities, including our own.
Thank you for your support of our students, the Weld Central community, and students across Colorado.
Superintendent of Schools
Principal, Weld Central High School