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BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

Essex football player makes racist remark during SeaWolves game

BHS+Football
BHS Football

A racist comment was made by an Essex High School football player towards South Burlington High School Athletic Director Mike Jabour at Thursday’s SeaWolves game. The comment was reportedly made in response to Jabour’s decision to postpone the game due to lightning and targeted Jabour’s racial identity as a black man.

“We need to model the things that we want people to do,” BHS Principal Beaupre said. “And we need to hold them accountable when they fail.”

While disappointed by the incident, Beaupre is confident in the responses of the respective administrations.

Following the incident, the athletic directors of each SeaWolves school (Burlington High School, South Burlington High School and Winooski High School) met individually with their respective players to help them process the incident and gauge their feelings. 

“Everyone had a one-on-one,” SeaWolves football player Jude Hermansky ‘26 said, “I felt like that helped a lot.”

Afterward, the three schools agreed to resume the game as scheduled on Sunday. There were no further incidents and Essex won the competition 28-12.

“I feel like it turned out to be a more aggressive game,” Hermansky said. “People were just going harder than they normally do.”

The incident on Friday was not the first time that racist remarks have been made at high school sporting events in the Burlington area. In October 2021, the Register reported on racist comments made at a varsity girl’s volleyball matchup between BHS and SBHS. SBHS student spectators directed the comments at BHS JV girl’s volleyball team members who were supporting their varsity teammates. During the same year, athletes and spectators from Enosburg Falls High School allegedly used racist insults against the Winooski High School soccer team during a heated matchup.

In response to these incidents in 2021, the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) updated its hate speech policy and drafted a pregame statement to be read at the beginning of most competitions. 

The pregame statement reads, “Under no circumstances should any student-athletes, officials, or coaches be subjected to behavior and/or language aimed to demean, disrespect or harm. If behavior or hate speech of this kind is observed and/or reported, the site officials will stop the event immediately to meet with the coaches and the game officials about the next possible outcomes of violating this expectation.”

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