March 9, 2023 (English)
Thursday, March 9
Dear School District of Beloit Families,
I wanted to pause my weekly referendum and reconfiguration newsletter and focus on the events that transpired with our boys at the varsity basketball playoff game on Friday, March 3rd, vs. Muskego. Let me start by saying that our boys basketball team showed extreme resilience in the face of adversity and made the entire Beloit community proud that they represent the fabric of our community.
At that game, some unacceptable actions by fans transpired. We are aware of the alleged racial slurs written and unsportsmanlike phrases being chanted. Since then, I have had several conversations with the Muskego-Norway School District and have an in-person meeting scheduled for next week. Once notified, the Muskego-Norway School District fully cooperated with us and continues to do so. An investigation is underway, and these unfortunate situations take time to investigate thoroughly.
We take this matter very seriously. All students should be able to play in a safe, competitive sports environment. These actions do not represent the School District of Beloit’s beliefs or mission statement. We want our student-athletes and families to know we want safe learning environments in our schools and at athletic/activities events.
I believe you can not drive out hate with hate, but as a Purple Knight community, we will not allow our students to be subject to this behavior. We can’t determine what another community will do or how it will choose to handle a much greater conversation rooted in dismantling systematic and institutionalized racism. The Board of Education and the School District of Beloit are committed to the safety and well-being of all students at all times.
Now more than ever, our community must commit to being anti-racist. Our students, staff, families, and coaches appreciate the support, encouragement, and public comments that continue to be shared by individuals and our community and business partners. We thank you.
We are proud of the diversity within the School District of Beloit and acknowledge the daily challenges and adversity many of our families and students of color face. I have met with our student-athletes and coaches, and we are working on our next steps.
We will implement the following actions:
We will not tolerate or be subject to poor sportsmanship from fans of any sporting opportunity in our school district or elsewhere. If at any time, players or coaches are experiencing racial slurs, biased statements, bigotry, or any other offensive statements, we can and will take immediate action to keep our students safe.
If the behavior starts, our coaches can call timeout and immediately speak with the head official and athletic referee and immediately speak about unsportsmanlike behavior and request they follow the WIAA rules and assess a penalty on the fans, parents, or spectators and that those perpetrators be removed from the game.
A public statement from the Athletic Director (AD) or Administration should also remind the athletic fans in attendance of the expected behavior.
If the behavior persists, call another timeout and leave the court of play due to an unsafe and hostile environment. At this time, two options could occur;
- Return to the locker room, load buses, and leave. Again, we will not tolerate playing in an unsafe environment.
- Return to the locker room, and coaches, athletic directors, and officials can decide if the game should be postponed to a future date. If a decision can't be made, we will always air on leaving the hostile environment for the sake of our students.
Please note that these steps aren’t in any specific order, as we can move through these steps based on what is experienced before or during a game. I have met with our coaching staff and more specific details have been shared.
I am reminded that we are much stronger together than apart. I would like to again thank the community for their unwavering support during this time for our students and families.
Dr. Willie E. Garrison II
Superintedent, School District of Beloit