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Racial slurs alleged in lacrosse game; Clarence girls accused in match against Sweet Home Middle

Two school districts are investigating claims that members of the Clarence Middle School girls' lacrosse team directed racial slurs at black players on the Sweet Home team during a game Thursday afternoon, The Buffalo News has learned.

The allegations first were raised by three parents of players on the Sweet Home team who emailed Clarence Superintendent Geoffrey M. Hicks on Friday morning, Hicks said.

Hicks declined to provide details on what the parents reported to him, but Sweet Home Superintendent Anthony Day confirmed the districts are looking into claims of racist language.

"The girls have reported that there were some kids on the Clarence team that used a racially motivated word, during the game, toward African-American members of the Sweet Home team," Day said.

Officials in both districts are interviewing players on the two teams, which include players from seventh and eighth grades.

Hicks said he expects the Clarence athletic director will wrap up his investigation by Monday afternoon and the district will make any disciplinary decisions at that time.

"If there's any wrongdoing, we'll have to take action on our end," said Hicks, who previously served as superintendent in Sweet Home.

The allegations center on a game played Thursday afternoon at Sweet Home Middle School in Amherst, Hicks and Day confirmed.

Neither superintendent would discuss exactly what word or words reportedly were used during the game. The alleged incident has been discussed on Facebook.

Day said the Sweet Home coach didn't hear any of the language.

"He was told of it after the game," Day said.

More than one member of the team later reported hearing the language, Day said.

The Sweet Home superintendent said he learned of the complaints when Hicks called him Friday.

Day and Martin Pizur, the Sweet Home Middle School principal, talked to members of the Sweet Home girls' team about what happened during the game.

Day said he will forward this information to Clarence officials and said the districts are cooperating in the probe.

"I trust that [Hicks] will do a good job investigating and take whatever measures are appropriate," Day said.

Day said this is the first time in his two years as superintendent that black members of one of the Sweet Home district's sports teams have allegedly been the victims of racism.

Hicks, for his part, said no claims of racist behavior have been directed at the members of any Clarence sports team during his first year as superintendent there.

Clarence Athletic Director Greg Kaszubski is leading the district's investigation, which Hicks expects will be finished by mid-day Monday.

"Obviously, if the allegations are true, it's offensive," Hicks said, and the responsible students could be in violation of the district's Code of Conduct or an additional code that applies to student-athletes.