Skip to Content

Football player accused of using racial slur has suspension reversed

By Lauren Henning

Click here for updates on this story

    BURLINGTON, Wisconsin (The Journal Times) — A Burlington High School football player accused of using a racial slur during a Sept. 10 game against Westosha Central was originally barred from participating in extracurricular activities. That decision has since been reversed.

The student was suspended from extracurricular activities on Sept. 16, according to records obtained by The Journal Times. The decision was overturned by Sept. 22 due to insufficient “evidence to support that the student was responsible for the code violation.” Further details of the appeal, according to BASD spokesperson Julie Thomas, are confidential, per the extracurricular handbook.

“There are two possible disciplinary tracks: school-based consequences (which the student fulfilled) and extracurricular consequences (which were appealed and overturned),” Thomas said in an email.

Burlington Coalition for Dismantling Racism President Laura Bielefeldt said the group is working with the Westosha family affected and is moving forward. Bielefeldt claims there were multiple BHS student-athletes involved in the incident and that BASD mishandled the investigation.

While administrators at Westosha, located in Paddock Lake in Kenosha County, previously stated they worked with BASD on the investigation and were satisfied with the results, they provided no further statement for this report.

“I am still in contact with the Westosha family, and they have not given up on the matter. They are looking at next steps as to how to properly move forward in finding a fair and just punishment for what occurred at the football game,” Bielefeldt said.

Thomas said that the Southern Lakes Conference, which includes BHS and Westosha, is planning a sportsmanship and leadership summit in February to address cultural issues inside the conference. For Bielefeldt, the summit has potential and “isn’t a bad idea,” but is something that should have already been in place, without racism issues prompting its creation.

“The issue (the slur allegations) was with the Burlington School District, not with the entire conference,” Bielefeldt said. “I’ve spoken to other districts within the conference and some of their coaches. I’m hearing a universal stance, from coaches that work with majority black and brown students, that they have to prep their students for coming to Burlington football games; they have to let their students know that they will be called racial slurs.”

Bielefeldt said BASD has a responsibility to not only teach its students, but also to prepare them to be contributing members of society, which includes properly correcting students when they make mistakes.

The district has taken steps to address these issues. Bielefeldt said that gives her hope that the district is beginning to see the power it holds in changing the environment, not only for their own students, but for visiting students.

Bielefeldt said she is hopeful that BASD Superintendent Stephen Plank and Assistant Superintendent Jill Oelslager will be effective in turning things around.

“I am hopeful,” Bielefeldt said, “after seeing the report from the disciplinary audit, and hearing from Mr. Plank and Jill Oelslager, that it appears that the district is trying to be more proactive, rather than reactive for black and brown students and all of its marginalized students.”

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content