ENFIELD, Conn. — Enfield school officials are condemning an incident where a high school student was reportedly called a racial slur during a fundraising event.
Superintendent Christopher Drezek sent a letter out Tuesday to parents and students in the community explaining the encounter.
According to Drezek, the student who is a football player was participating in the annual fundraising program for the team's upcoming season. Student-athletes go around town and sell Blitz cards all while wearing their Enfield Eagles football jerseys.
Drezek said when one of the students approached to sell a fundraising item, the homeowner said they were not interested.
"Unfortunately, that was not the end of the encounter," Drezek said in the letter. "This resident then proceeded to call our student a racial slur, as well as other statements that left our student feeling threatened and intimidated."
The student then walked away and called his coach and his parents, Drezek said. The coach then called the police who conducted several interviews with the homeowners, the football players and other potential witnesses to the incident.
Enfield Chief of Police Alaric Fox said in a statement that one of the residents did admit to using the slur. But, as deeply offensive it was, it did not violate the law. Fox also said there were differing accounts on whether or not the resident made any threatening statements, and no probable cause for charges could be established.
"I want to publicly commend this student for having the dignity, grace, and courage to walk away and be the bigger person," Drezek said.
Monday was the first day of training for the football team. Drezek said athletics staff addressed the team, counselors would be available to speak to any students who felt they needed one, and the support will continue indefinitely.
Drezek went on to say in the letter:
"I need to be crystal clear on this part—there is no place in our schools, our town, or quite frankly, this country for what happened to one of our students this weekend. Although this did not happen in a school, it happened to one of our kids during a fundraiser for one of our athletic teams. This type of behavior is not only unacceptable, but also repulsive. I know I speak for the district, the Board of Education, and the Town Council when I say there is no tolerance for racism, bigotry, or discrimination against anyone in the town of Enfield. I also realize these are just words, and without action, those who feel underrepresented feel as if nothing will change. As a district, we have been advancing our work around equity and inclusion, and we will continue to strengthen these efforts to ensure every student, staff, and family believe our schools are a safe and welcoming community for them, regardless of what they look like, what they believe, who they love, how they learn, what their native language is, how they identify, or how much money they have; however, we cannot do this alone. To make progress, we need to embark on this together as a community. This will require all of us to have difficult but necessary conversations. This will also require us to talk, but more importantly, to listen to one another, whether we agree with one another or not. An important first step will be taken next week."
The Enfield Town Council and Board of Education will host a Community Conversation on Race, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on August 23 at 5:30 p.m., located at the Town Green. School, town and police staff will also be present at the meeting.
"We are better than this, and we all need to have the same courage our young student displayed to show our kids we are indeed better than this incident," Drezek said at the end of his letter.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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