DUXBURY, Mass. — The Duxbury school district has canceled this week’s football games once again. The update comes after the town’s Board of Selectmen held a discussion about how to deal with the anti-Semitic language used during the last high school football game.
“We will review our existing policies, practices and procedures and, where necessary, we will enact changes to begin to build a stronger more equitable community, including efforts to hire and retain a more diverse workforce,” said Amy MacNab, the board chair, during Monday’s meeting.
The newly elected Board of Selectmen passed a motion Monday to readopt the town’s proclamation to not tolerate any form of discrimination.
“I think our feeling is it was a terrible thing to happen, but it’s not a terrible town and it’s an opportunity for it to become an even better one,” said Bruce Rutter, a member of Duxbury for All.
The group ‘Duxbury for All’ wrote a letter to town leaders urging them to take action after the town learned anti-Semitic words, like “Auschwitz,” were used for play-calls at the last high school football game. Last week the school district fired the head football coach, and now an investigation is underway into how this all started.
The school district’s superintendent attended the virtual town meeting Monday, but he would not comment on the investigation.
“I have fielded an unbelievable number of phone calls, emails and text messages from people in the Jewish community who are hurting,” said Karen Wong during the meeting.
Members of the community spoke up during Monday night’s meeting concerned about the football team’s behavior. Many of them said it’s not just a school district issue, it’s a problem for the whole town.
“We really hope we can get parents and students talking about this issue so that when things like this come up in the future, someone on the team will say, well we’re not going to say that,” Rutter said.
A few members of the board promised to look into what they can do next, whether it’s a community training session or hiring a firm to work with the town on improving diversity and inclusion.
“So, I think we not only need to put our time, but we also need to put our money where our mouths are,” MacNab said.
The Duxbury High School principal also sent a letter to the football team families Monday saying there will be two mandatory diversity workshops for the team over the next couple of weeks. The first one will be Wednesday morning.
The letter went on to say:
“This program will focus on the Holocaust, not just as a historical event but as a lived experience that continues to impact families every day. The second workshop will focus on the role and the responsibilities of being an upstander.
“We feel that it is extremely important that this work begins in earnest before our teams compete again. Therefore, we have informed Whitman-Hanson today that our teams will not play in any of our scheduled contests this week.”
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