Administrators at one New York school on Long Island are investigating an alleged racist rant and violence against young Black children at a high school football game earlier this month.
The incident took place in the town of Riverhead on Sept. 9.
A Black family reported to Riverhead High School officials that three white teenagers approached their children, called them racial slurs, and subjected them to physical violence. The children’s ages range from five to 11.
The family told NBC News 4 that the altercation happened on a playground right next to a school football game, and several people from the crowds witnessed it.
“I never dreamed my great-grandchildren would be subjected to the N-word in 2023,” Robert “Bubie” Brown, a lifelong Riverhead resident and local deacon, told school board members at a board meeting days after the altercation took place.
Brown said that during the incident, one teen pushed one of his great-grandchildren into the dirt. Then, a 14-year-old girl directed a racist and derogatory rant toward the child’s mother.
A school board member also told fellow board members and attendees in the same meeting that several people saw what happened.
“It was heard by a lot of people up in the stands, and the community was appalled, and of course, the police showed up,” that board member said at that Sept. 12 meeting.
“Some things you try to put behind you, and you think it’s behind you, and all of a sudden, bam, it’s hitting you in the face,” Brown said.
The school board denounced the racist behavior, and the district said officials are reviewing security video and are interviewing multiple witnesses and two students who were involved. They have yet to report what disciplinary measures will be taken, but it’s reported that penalties depend on the outcome of the investigation.
The district said they will also review their racial relations curriculum to see what improvements can be made.
U.S. Census data show that 63.1 percent of Riverhead’s population is white, about 30 percent is Hispanic, and roughly 16 percent is Black.
This incident bears a familiar resemblance to another recent racist tirade at a football game between the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Austin that went viral after being caught on camera. Alabama fans were heard shouting, “Go back to the projects!” along with other racist and homophobic slurs at Texas Longhorns players dancing on the sidelines to celebrate their performance in the game. Texas defeated Alabama 34-24.
A representative for Alabama said the university is “disgusted” by the incident and condemned the behavior.