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Copyright 2017 Portland Newspapers Oct 12, 2017
Portland Press Herald
Cony and Mt. Ararat high school administrators are investigating an alleged racial incident that took place Sept. 28 during a boys' varsity soccer game in Topsham.
"I'm aware of an issue that came up," Mt. Ararat Athletic Director Geoff Godo said. "The administration at Cony made us aware of it. We take these types of situations very seriously. We are investigating accordingly."
The incident reportedly involved a racial slur directed at one or more Cony players. The team features a number of players from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including Haitian, Iraqi and Czech families.
Brad Smith, superintendent of Topsham-based School Administrative District 75, said Wednesday that the investigation is nearing completion.
"We are still waiting to hear from one or two more students before deciding on what disciplinary action should be taken," he said.
"From our end, we are trying to determine what happened. We are trying to sort everything out.
"I do know that any form of discrimination is unacceptable. We take this very, very seriously. When people make decisions to make discriminatory comments to others, it's completely unacceptable.
"This is a lesson we don't want our high school students to learn, that they can treat people differently based on ethnicity or religious beliefs or their sexual orientation. It's very disappointing."
Godo wouldn't say how many students in his school were involved but acknowledged that a Mt. Ararat soccer player and at least one spectator were being investigated.
"We don't condone these types of comments," he said. "We don't tolerate them. We will investigate them. We are working to find a resolution because this is not the kind of thing anyone wants associated with their community or school. It's unfortunate."
According to the Maine Association of Soccer Officials, no red cards were issued for unsporting behavior. Red cards can be issued for insulting or abusive language and trigger an ejection.
Two yellow cards were given for reckless challenges.
Cony soccer coach Jon Millett declined comment and Vachon would not say what prompted Cony to report the incident to Mt. Ararat. Several phone calls to Cony soccer parents also were not returned.
Karen McCormick, whose son, Simon, plays on the team, said in a Facebook message that she wasn't comfortable discussing the situation but was confident the schools were handling it.
"From what I know the coaches, (athletic directors) and principals are dealing with the issues," Karen McCormick wrote in response to a Facebook message seeking comment. "I trust it will be taken care of."
In a Sept. 28 Facebook post to the Cony boys' soccer page, Millett praised his team after the game.
"I'm proud of our guys tonight of the way they played through a multitude of adversity," Millett wrote.
"Like life, there were many things like fans and refs we couldn't control and despite this the boys persevered as a team to the end."
Smith, the schools' superintendent, said there are ultimately lessons to learn.
"This is serious and it will be dealt with," he said. "Discrimination of any kind is flat-out off limits."
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