Racial tolerance took a serious hit last Friday when two Pittsburgh schools, Monessen High and Brentwood High, squared off for a seemingly ordinary basketball game.
According to Boston.com, two students from Brentwood High are now being accused of dressing up in giant banana suits at the end of the game (seriously?) and mocking players from Monessen High with incendiary racial comments. It’s probably also worth noting that Monessen High’s team is predominantly black while their counterparts from Brentwood are predominantly white.
Even though the Brentwood kids who dressed up as bananas were thrown out of the game for their actions, many are now wondering if enough was done. Apparently, despite the fact that everyone seems to agree that the students in question were tossed for “causing agitation and disruption,’’ there is some discrepancy about whether race was a factor.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Brentwood district Superintendent Ronald Dufalla acknowledged that something took place, but refused to say that the banana incident could be tied to racial differences between the two teams involved. Per the statement:
“The high school students are emulating college students they have seen on television who wear costumes during the collegiate contests,’’ Dufalla said in email Wednesday to the A.P. “No high school team, Monessen or otherwise, or their fans are being singled out. This is just something the students do.’’
Unfortunately, parents from Monessen disagree with the idea that these was just a case of boys being boys. They insist that they heard racial slurs like “monkeys’’ and “cotton pickers.’’from Brentwood students.
In an interview with The Valley Independent of Monessen (via Boston.com), Superintendent Linda Marcolini said that she felt that Friday’s incident didn’t get appropriate coverage.
“Basically, I feel (Dufalla) sugar-coated the situation,’’ Marcolini told the Independent. “I’m not happy with that, and I feel like I’ve not been told the whole story or the truth.’’
Where does this situation go from here? Well, while Marcolini tries to plead her case to higher powers, Dufalla will aim to move past everything that may or may not have transpired. In another statement he said the situation was “dealt with when it occurred. I think it was addressed quickly and handled well.’’
For what it’s worth, Monessen wound up winning the game 59-45.