After racial incident, Quakertown supe says, 'This is not just a one-time incident. We have a problem'Date of publication: Oct. 19, 2017The Inquirer and Daily NewsThe ugly racial incidents at a Quakertown Community High School football game didn’t just hurt the black students from Cheltenham High School who were the targets of racial epithets, in the view of one Quakertown student leader.
“It definitely put us back, I guess you could say,” said Tom Irvine, 18, a senior who organizes the student cheering section at athletic events. “Quakertown is actually a very good school. We don’t stand for any of that.”
Irvine was among those attending Wednesday night’s varsity girls’ soccer match at Quakertown Community High School’s Alumni Field on an evening when the mood of the crowd matched the tranquility of the weather.On Oct. 6, the field was home to an ugly chain of events during a football game against Cheltenham High as students hurled slurs and other hateful comments toward Cheltenham cheerleaders, so frightening that their coach was reluctant to let them use the restroom. Some students said people said that “black lives don’t matter” and “don’t shoot me” and that Cheltenham’s school buses were pelted with rocks.
The following day, Quakertown Superintendent Bill Harner, a Cheltenham graduate himself, said an investigation revealed the perpetrators to be a small group of middle-school students — two eighth graders in particular — roaming the sidelines. Cheltenham students insist more were involved, including adults in the stands. According to Harner, the district is taking “appropriate actions.”
“This is not just a one-time incident. We have a problem,” Harner said in an interview Thursday. In a recent blog post, Harner described a number of instances of racism and harassment that had been reported to him in his four years as superintendent, including in the wake of the Oct. 6 football game.