The Putnam Examiner

Mahopac JV Lax Team Accused of Racist Actions

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The Mahopac school district is facing charges of racism following a junior varsity lacrosse game between Mahopac and New Rochelle earlier this month.

Parents from New Rochelle accused Mahopac students-athletes of racist behavior during the game, which included claims of calling opposing players “(expletive) Mexicans” and not shaking hands with African-American players after the game, according to a News 12 report.

The apparent incident occurred on April 11, the Thursday before students and most staff were off for spring break so the investigation is still ongoing with students returning to school Tuesday, Superintendent of Schools Anthony DiCarlo said in an interview. DiCarlo has been in constant contact with New Rochelle school officials, including their superintendent, athletic director and high school principal. He called New Rochelle officials the night after the game and apologized to them for what happened earlier that day.

“We are very much upset about the incident and what happened,” DiCarlo said. “It’s something that has no place in Mahopac.”

Once the investigation is complete, the school district will follow its code of contact when determining punishment for the student or students involved, DiCarlo said. He hopes to have more information for the public at Thursday’s school board meeting.

This isn’t the first time the Mahopac school system has been accused of racist actions and behavior. In 2014, during a varsity basketball at the Westchester County Center, Mahopac students that attended the game sent out racist tweets directed at Mount Vernon High School, which is a predominately black school. Eight students were suspended as a result. During the game, Mahopac players were accused of hurling racist slurs at Mount Vernon players, but those accusations were not confirmed and no punishment was dealt out as a result.

The following season, one Mahopac basketball player was suspended for a good portion of the season after he was accused of calling an African-American player on Carmel’s basketball team the n-word. While the player maintained his innocence and his family hired famed civil rights attorney Michael Sussman, the punishment remained.

Since 2015, there have been no recorded incidents of racially charged actions or words from Mahopac athletes though according to News 12, New Rochelle parents alleged there have been other instances of inappropriate behavior in the past.

DiCarlo said this is the first time he has had to investigate a claim of racially charged actions from Mahopac students- athletes since he became school chief last year. Before the school year began, DiCarlo said he went over what conduct he expects from the athletes and the student section, the Mahopac Maniacs that attend many sporting events.

The school board and administrators have been “extremely proactive” when pushing for sportsmanship and appropriate behavior at athletic contests, he said.

“I would love to tell you that I can control what 4,200 kids say or don’t– I can’t, but it’s something we won’t tolerate in Mahopac,” DiCarlo said. “There is zero tolerance for derogatory comments at other players.”

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