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HADDONFIELD, N.J. (CBS) – The boy’s lacrosse season has been canceled at Haddonfield Memorial High School following an alleged racial slur incident, school officials announced on Friday.
The school says an investigation began after a Haddonfield student allegedly used a racial slur directed toward a female athlete visiting the school.
The incident happened about a week ago when Haddon Heights was visiting Haddonfield High School for a track meet. Sterling High School was also visiting the school and was one of the students targeted, CBS3 has learned.
Cydney Thomas, 16 says she heard the hurtful racial slur being uttered to a fellow track athlete.
“One of the Sterling girls was sitting down putting on her shoes when the Haddonfield boys lacrosse team walk by and say, ‘Move N-word.’ She started crying it was very upsetting,” recounted Thomas.
Thomas jumped into action alerting the lacrosse coach.
“He really didn’t do anything about. He didn’t go up to the lacrosse team and told them ‘who said this’ and ‘who did that’ he didn’t do any of that,” said Thomas described the coach’s reaction.
“During the course of this investigation, some issues were discovered that are completely unacceptable for this community,” said the school.
The school district says they have canceled the remainder of the boy’s lacrosse season as a result of this incident.
“There is no room for hate of any kind at Haddonfield Schools and it will not be tolerated. It is not who we are and it does not represent our student body. The Haddonfield Board of Education’s Human Dignity Statement, which is posted in the classrooms of the High School, states that “each person has an inherent worth and has something to contribute. Diversity is a source of strength. Treating each other with respect and valuing differences eliminates prejudice, builds cooperation, and makes us a stronger community,” Haddonfield Memorial High School said in a statement.
“I think other schools will be looking to Haddonfield to see what they do and Haddonfield has set the standard,” said Camden County NAACP East President Lloyd D. Henderson.
Officials say they are in the process of working with the community to start a dialogue regarding “diversity and inclusiveness” within the student body.
Diversity, sensitivity, and empathy training will be conducted for all students, staff, coaches and sports teams, the school added.
For Cydney, she says sadly enough she’s been called the racial slur before in her own school setting. She’s standing up, speaking out saying enough is enough.
“I didn’t want to make it seem like it was ok. Actions should be taken for things someone else said things that you wanted to say I feel like consequences should come,” said Thomas.