/  04.29.2022

Racism is still very much alive and this time its taking place during a high school lacrosse game. A Gwinnett County teen reveals that she was met with racial slurs while playing in a game at Cherokee High School.

“I have been heckled before, but I’ve never been called slurs on the field,” said Aja Thomas, a goalie for Brookwood High School.

The teen shared that during the second half of the game, a group of boys from the Cherokee lacrosse team began yelling from the stands.

“They said the N-word with the hard ‘r,’” she told WSB-TV. “I was angry, I was crying, I was going through every single emotion I could at the moment. 

Immediately following the incident, Thomas informed her mother who also happens to be the coach of the lacrosse team and a teacher at Brookwood High School located in Snellville, Georgia.

“I talked with the coach, I talked to the principal, I talked to the ref, and told them that it was clearly unacceptable. The refs asked them to be escorted out of the stadium,” shared Thomas who was in disbelief about what happened next.

Cherokee High’s principal, Rodney Larotta, reportedly prevented the refs from escorting the group out of the game and instead offered them the opportunity to sit with him.

Currently, the school denies any allegations that racial slurs were used during the game.

“The administration at CHS spent several hours interviewing coaches, players, other spectators and students who were present at the game; none reported hearing any racial slurs,” said Larotta in a statement to Channel 2 Action News. “At this time, none of the allegations have been substantiated.”

A witness by the name of Alexis Scoggins came forward to back Thomas’ claims and expressed concern with the way that the incident was handled by school administrators.

“Even with the overaggressive heckling, despite racial stuff being said, they should have been removed from the premises,” said Scoggins.

Brookwood High School principal William Bo Ford Jr. issued a statement regarding the incident late Thursday (April 28).

“We feel the environment was hostile and believe racial slurs were used during the second half of the competition,” he said. “It is extremely disappointing that someone would use racist language to attack a group of student athletes because of the color of their skin.”

An investigation regarding the occurrence is currently underway.

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