Sports

Yorktown Investigates Possible Harassment Incident

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Yorktown High School Credits: File Photo
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Editor's Note: Two days after this article was posted, Somers Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch issued a clarifying statement, saying he did not intend to implicate the entire Yorktown boys lacrosse team. Yorktown Superintendent Dr. Ralph Napolitano added that there is "no evidence" of any harassing or intimidating behavior. View the updated article here.

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown school administrators are investigating allegations of harassment and intimidation made by members of the Somers girls varsity lacrosse team against members of the Yorktown High school boys varsity lacrosse team. The Somers students said the incident took place before the Section 1 Class B Girls Lacrosse championship game May 25, at Yorktown High School.

In two statements released June 6, Somers Central School District administrators said members of the Somers girls lacrosse team were preparing for the game in the Yorktown boys locker room when members of the Yorktown boys lacrosse team entered and “engaged in harassing and intimidating behavior,” which caused the girls lacrosse students to leave, and relocate to a different locker room.

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"Unfortunately, what should have been a day showcasing the competitive-spirit, athletic abilities and sportsmanship of both teams, was marred by the rude and disrespectful behavior of certain students," said Somers Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch.

The incident was investigated internally and follow-up conversations were had with Yorktown school officials to make them aware of the outcome of the investigation, Blanch said. The information was also shared with the Section 1 Office of Interscholastic Athletics, he added.

“We have considered all avenues available to address this situation, including consulting legal counsel,” Blanch, Somers High School Principal Mark Bayer and Somers Athletic Director Roman Catalino wrote in a statement to parents. The school is available to support any students impacted by this incident, he said, and encouraged any students to contact the Somers administration should they need assistance.

In a statement sent to Yorktown News, Dr. Ralph Napolitano, superintendent of schools for Yorktown, said the Yorktown administration is taking the incident "very seriously." He emphasized that for six days after the game, no incident or problem was communicated to Yorktown administrators.

According to Napolitano, the incident was reported to the districts of both administrations via an anonymous letter, which was received June 1. 

"Mr. [Fio] Nardone, the Yorktown athletic director, immediately called Somers to discuss the email," Napolitano said.

It was agreed during the call that the principals and athletic directors of both high schools were to arrange a conference call to collectively discuss the matter, Napolitano said. The following day, June 2, the high school principals spoke and scheduled a conversation for the following week. That conversation was held June 6.

"Unfortunately, while this phone conversation did occur [June 6], Somers administrators had already released a statement prior to our opportunity to fully investigate the matter, which we are now doing," he said.

Yorktown has requested a meeting with the captains, administrators and coaches of both teams, pending the conclusion of the investigation, to further discuss the matter and how to address it, Napolitano said.

"We look forward to continuing a positive relationship with our Somers neighbors," he said. 

Blanch, who said he was concerned and upset by the incident, said the two districts have shared a "long history of positive experiences," and that the Somers Central School District's administrators "know very well that [Yorktown administrators] remain committed to upholding the highest standards of sportsmanship."

"We look forward to resolving this matter and supporting the interests of students in both schools," Blanch said.

This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

 

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