_P754215.jpg

On October 18, 2021, Enosburg Falls High School Principal Joseph Donarum issued the findings of his investigation report regarding the allegations made after the boys’ varsity soccer game between Enosburg High School and Winooski High School on September 18, 2021.

According to the press release sent by the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union, investigators interviewed all of the Enosburg High School soccer players, parents, coaches, and the assigned referees who officiated at the game.

After a thorough investigation, none of the witnesses, including the referees, were able to corroborate racist remarks or other racist behavior by Enosburg students. Furthermore, all of the witnesses denied having heard or otherwise observed such behavior.

The investigators were not able to interview the student-athletes from Winooski who reported the racist misconduct. According to the press release, a request was made for access so that the investigators could discuss the incidents with the involved Winooski student-athletes.

Understandably, the Winooski student-athletes declined to meet either in person or by Zoom with the Enosburg High School investigators.

FNESU supported the rights of the Winooski student-athletes who decided not to participate in an investigation conducted by another school district.

Investigators also requested any additional video footage and investigatory notes and were not granted access.

The press release informed the media and the community that the Enosburg High School investigators concluded that the evidence did not substantiate the charges.

The FNESU press release stated that 'It is basic due process that when we conduct any investigation there is always the presumption of innocence. The preponderance of the evidence must support a finding of wrongdoing. Here, we were not able to gather any direct evidence that would rebut the presumption of innocence.'

FNESU superintendent Lynn Cota closed the press release saying that she felt the investigation 'to be incomplete because our investigators did not have access to the Winooski students. This result underscores the difficulty that exists when students from two districts are involved in an incident.'

In an instance involving two schools from different districts, Cota stated that there is no mechanism for a single district to conduct a complete investigation, with interviews of both sides, and requested that the Vermont Principals’ Association, the entity responsible for Vermont interscholastic athletics, immediately complete the investigation by assigning a neutral third party expert.

Cota stated that FNESU would cooperate in any way they could, including providing access to the investigation file, students, employees, and other evidence collected.

Cota went on to say that, "Enosburg Falls High School and the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union are committed to developing and sustaining a learning environment that is supportive of all students.

"We condemn racism in all of its forms. We have begun the work of focusing on equity and have been engaging in anti-racism and anti-bias education as a district. We are proud of our efforts thus far and realize that our work is just beginning."

On behalf of FNESU, Cota assured the community that there would be an 'intensive and ongoing process to raise awareness and make change so that all students feel a sense of belonging, dignity, and justice."

She also welcomed the opportunity to 'come together with Winooski and repair harms that exist between the two school communities.'

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to darkin@orourkemediagroup.com.

Share your opinion

Avatar

Join the conversation

Recommended for you

Recommended for you