DUXBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - An external investigation into the alleged use of anti-Semitic and racially-offensive slurs by Duxbury High School football players during a game against Plymouth North High School back in March revealed that the language may have been used in practices dating back as far as 2010.
Attorney Edward R. Mitnick, of Just Training Solutions, LLC, conducted the investigation under the request of Duxbury Public Schools, focusing on the actions of the high school football team, its coaching staff, and the general culture of the football program following the alleged incident during the varsity game on March 12.
After interviewing dozens of witnesses, Mitnick released a 56-page report that said there was “sufficient credible evidence to conclude that offensive and inappropriate conduct occurred in violation of the School District’s Vision-Values-Mission-Goals Policy (AD), Harassment Policy (ACAB), and Staff Conduct Policy (GBEB) as the result of anti-Semitic words and other references to the Holocaust by members of the football program,” Superintendent John J. Antonucci wrote in a letter to the school committee.
Mitnick reportedly found that the use of this language was a systemic issue and had happened at practices potentially as far back as 2010.
The coaching staff was allegedly aware of the use of these terms.
There was no sufficient credible evidence suggesting that these terms were used during games in prior seasons, Mitnick reported.
He added that it was uncontested that during the March 12 game an offensive lineman called out “Auschwitz” to refer to a play/blocking scheme for the lineman.
Jewish-related words such as “Rabbi” and “dreidel” were allegedly introduced into the word association play calls likely sometime during the 2010-2012 football seasons.
“At that time the varsity team started to use the word ‘Rabbi’ to call a play that had originally been called ‘Rabbit.’ ‘Rabbi’ then evolved into other Jewish terms such as ‘dreidel,’ ‘yarmulke’ and ‘Hanukkah’ being used for the ‘Rabbit’ play,” Antonucci wrote.
The investigation also found the use of insensitive and homophobic slurs on the sidelines, profane language used by coaches and players, and sexually offensive jokes and innuendo used by the coaching staff in front of players, Mitnick reported.
The school district plans to conduct a full external review of their athletic program and host several diversity, equity, and inclusion training sessions for district staff during the 2021-2022 school year.
They had their spring coaches participate in similar training prior to the 2021 season, with football players required to attend a Holocaust presentation by a third-generation Holocaust survivor.
The school district also fired the head football coach back in March and canceled some games following the incident against Plymouth North High School.
Antonucci concluded his letter to the school committee by writing, “While there are no excuses for what has occurred, moving forward, it is the mission and goal of the Duxbury Public Schools, working with the greater community, to foster and create a diverse and inclusive educational setting, both in our classrooms and in our athletic and cocurricular programs.”
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