Parents say racials slurs shouted at Marion students during homecoming football game

MARION, OH (WCMH) – Some parents at Marion Harding High School are outraged after they said students and athletes were racially victimized by the opposing side.

Parent Shannah Turner said it all happened during Marion Harding’s homecoming football game on Friday.

“Throughout the game, people were mentioning that they were being called names, racial slurs, being called the n-word,” she said. “A fight almost broke out at the end of the game. The coaches were able to maintain it, get our boys into the locker room.”

Turner was at the game with her 8th-grade son. She said as they were getting ready to go home, she noticed a student from North Union, wrapped in a Confederate flag, talking to her son.

“He’s asking these kids, who are all bi-racial and black kids, if it’s offense to them that he’s wearing this flag and how he feels when people call him the n-word,” she said. “It’s not acceptable that our boys continue to go through this. They’re there to play a game. They’re respectful. They should have the same respect given to them.”

Turner said she wants North Union to be held accountable for their actions.

“It’s year after year. Nobody ever does anything about it, everybody brushes it under the rug and that’s why it continue to happen and I refuse to let my son be treated like that,” she said. “It’s disheartening to me as a parent when I teach my kids to treat people as you would want to be treated and there’s these adults allowing these things to happen.”

She said the student with the Confederate flag was in the stands, the entire game.

“You can say what you want about the flag and what it’s used for. It was used for racial ammunition that night,” said Turner. “When you’re throwing the words around that they were throwing around and you’re wearing that flag, it’s used for hurt.”

Now, a retired Marion City Schools teacher is speaking out. Tara Dyer said she’s willing to host community conversations in order to end racism.

“It’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s not going to be easy to sit down and have these conversations, but I do believe there are citizens in Marion and people who truly care about our city that want us to raise our children and live in an environment that’s safe for everybody,” said Dyer. “We can go to my house. We can go to my church, wherever. But, I think it’s important we have these conversations because I don’t want something that happened Friday to ever happen again and I don’t want these kids, this community to think that we’re going to accept it.”

The North Union Local School District superintendent sent out this statement:

In response to media inquiries regarding student conduct at Friday’s football game at Marion Harding High School, this statement is issued. Policies of the North Union Local School District state, “Students are expected to conduct themselves in a way that exhibits respect and consideration for the rights of others. Students of the District must conform with school regulations and accept directions from authorized school personnel. The Board has ‘zero tolerance’ of violent, disruptive, harassing , intimidating, bullying or any other inappropriate behavior by its students. “A student who fails to comply with established school rules or with any reasonable request made by school personnel on school property and/or at school-related events is subject to approved student discipline regulations. Students are also subject to discipline, as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct for misbehavior that occurs off school property when the misbehavior endangers the health and safety of students within the District or adversely affects the education process.” In short, students and athletes at North Union High School are held to a high standard of respect for others and respect for authority — both at school and at extra-curricular activities. North Union staff members are role models for students, and likewise, are held to a high standard. “Concerns about student misconduct will be investigated and district policies will be followed. – Rich Baird, Superintendent.

The Marion City School superintendent also issued a statement:

Marion City urges all student-athletes, whether our own or our opponents, to play with the utmost respect for each other and display good sportsmanship while competing. We ask for the same respect from people attending the games.

We are aware of an incident Friday evening and are proud of the conduct of our student athletes.  We are in contact with North Union Local Schools administrators. North Union administrators have told us that they are investigating the incidents and will address concerns. – Stephen P. Fujii, Superintendent

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