School officials in Wellesley and Medway are investigating an incident where a Wellesley High School student of color was the target of a racist gesture made by a pair of students from Medway, according to school officials in both communities.
The two Medway students approached the Wellesley student in the parking lot at Medway High School following a girls varsity basketball game between Wellesley and Medway on Friday, Dec. 9.
The Medway students each dropped to one knee, and raised their fists in the air at the Wellesley student — a gesture typically associated with racial justice movements. No words were exchanged between the students.
Wellesley school leaders, including Superintendent David Lussier, said in a statement that the Medway students’ gesture “was clearly an act of racism.”
“As a school community that strives to live up to its core values, we are deeply saddened when one of our community members is targeted based on their identity,” Wellesley leaders said.
The gesture was reported by the Wellesley student to their coach, and corroborated by Medway officials, they said. Wellesley officials have met with the student and their family.
“The Medway principal and members of his staff have expressed sincere concern and regret for the students’ behavior and have worked closely with us to gather the facts and take quick action,” Lussier and the other Wellesley school leaders said.
Neither community identified the students involved. The incident was first reported by the Swellesley Report.
Medway Superintendent Armand Pires and High School Principal John Murray, in a separate statement, also blasted their students’ actions: “This type of behavior is unacceptable and has no place in our schools, at school events or in our community.”
Medway schools contacted their town’s police and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association about what happened after the game, Pires and Murray said. School leaders in Medway are also working with Wellesley’s school officials in responding to the incident.
“Medway High School administrators have identified the individuals involved and are taking appropriate measures in partnership with the Wellesley schools to engage in restorative practices focused on repairing the harm caused by this incident and fostering reconciliation between our students and the victim,” Pires and Murray said.
“We work to create an atmosphere where all students — whether they attend Medway High School or are visiting our school — feel safe, supported and welcomed,” they said.
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