Earlier this school year, according to reports, a western Pennsylvania school district’s girls volleyball team was the victim of racist comments and insults. That prompted the victimized district, Penn Hills, to go to the governing body for school sports — The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) for a resolution.
WPIAL refused to act on the allegations, which has forced the district into a decision. Namely, whether to continue to be the victims of the alleged abuse, or suspend competing against the other school district, Kiski Area. Penn Hills chose the latter, not only for girl’s volleyball, but for all sports. This policy would remain in effect for the rest of the school year.
Instead of supporting the decision, the WPIAL has decided that if Penn Hills refuses to play against the “racist” school district, then they will not allow them to compete against anyone in any sport.
The Penn Hills district superintendent claims Kiski fans yelled racial comments and made inappropriate gestures towards girls volleyball players earlier this year.
The district solicitor says they’ve met with the WPIAL and says that the league could issue sanctions and not allow Penn Hills to play in any WPIAL games.
“I will deal with the sanctions because the WPIAL is not the person that sides with Penn Hills for some reason, we’ve been put through so many times and they’ve done nothing for us,” said Penn Hills School Board President Erin Vecchio.
This isn’t the 1st time that Penn Hills has been the victim of what it sees as racism. In 2018, the Penn Hills volleyball team opted to sit out of a girl’s volleyball game when Connellsville School District brought along armed police officers to “protect” the student-athletes to several sporting events at Penn Hills.
In that instance, WPIAL also sided with the other school district.
Following their decision, the Penn Hills volleyball coach issued this statement:
“The Penn Hills Girls Volleyball Team will not be traveling to Connellsville to play volleyball in a make up game scheduled for this evening,” coach Jay Mitlo wrote in a blog post . “… and here’s why. It won’t be about fun, sports, or even America for that matter. It’s about racism, intimidation, and lack of respect. I’m not supporting those things. “
Both Kiski and Connellsville are predominantly populated with white students to the tune of over 90 percent caucasian. Penn Hills, on the other hand, is about 65 percent black.
Apparently, the view of the WPIAL board is that Penn Hills School District should “suck it up, buttercup.”
So far, that is not an acceptable option for Penn Hills. They believe that standing against racism is more important than a win on the scoresheet.