The top official at the Mars Area School District is continuing to stand by his students and debunk allegations regarding last week’s football game.
“Our students are working really hard and treating each other really well,” Superintendent Wesley Shipley said in an interview Friday. “A show of patriotism does not equal the things they were accused of.”
Following last Friday’s Mars home football game against Penn Hills, there were accusations that some Mars students yelled racist taunts during the game at the predominantly-African American Penn Hills team. Some also claimed the “America” theme night used by the Mars student section- which included kids wearing red, white and blue and waving American flags- was meant to disparage Penn Hills players.
The claims gained traction when the issue was brought up on a KDKA Radio talkshow.
Shipley says to his knowledge, no formal complaints have been reported to the administration at Mars, Penn Hills or to WPIAL officials. The Mars district did its own investigation into the matter, and Shipley says the claims have been proven untrue.
“I spoke to folks who were standing right beside our student section, our coaches, their coaches, our athletic director, a principal, an assistant principal…I even spoke with parent chaperones of the band. We what found was we just can’t substantiate what was said,” Shipley said.
A letter was written addressing the issue and signed by Shipley and Dayle Ferguson, who is president of the Mars school board. The letter was posted on the district’s website.
Shipley asserted the district continues to focus on creating a positive learning environment for students. Another anti-bullying program is set to be introduced to students next week.