Superintendent comments on racist incident at Trotwood-Wapak game

Update@7:25 p.m. (Nov. 8):

Wapakoneta Superintendent Keith Horner released the statement below regarding the alleged racial incident when Trotwood-Madison played Saturday:

“There were incidents reported and observed at the football game that we most certainly consider unacceptable. When we learned of these incidents, we acted quickly to address the issue if it was possible. We did not learn of all the reported incidents until well after the game. Our goal and hope now is to simply move forward and use this as a positive learning experience for our students.”

First report:

Trotwood-Madison High School officials plan to speak to Wapakoneta administrators about alleged racial slurs, name-calling and Confederate flag waving during and after Saturday’s playoff football game at Wapakoneta.

The Rams won, 41-7, to advance to the Division III, Region 12 semifinals. Trotwood-Madison has knocked Wapakoneta out of the playoffs in three straight seasons, but this matchup included allegations of inappropriate behavior by some fans and/or students.

“There were situations that were uncomfortable for our fans and our team and we’re going to handle it between the schools,” said Guy Fogle, Trotwood-Madison athletics director. “That’s how our administration wants to handle it and it’s one of those things that’s unfortunate.”

Messages left seeking comment from Wapakoneta’s athletics director Brad Rex and principal Scott Minnig were not immediately returned.

Trotwood-Madison bus driver and band chaperone Robert Sonny Benjamin said some dancers went to the Wapakoneta side of the field before their halftime performance.

That’s when Benjamin said the dancers were called names and then sworn at repeatedly and called by racial slurs.

“I moved the dancers away from there to safety and immediately called my wife who was on (Trotwood’s side) so she could get our athletic director’s attention so he could come over to the other side where I was,” Benjamin said.

“After the performance was over, the band began marching back to the stand of the Trotwood side of the field. While we were marching back is when boys in the (student section) threw (mini) footballs at the band. One hit our drum major, flag girl, and horn player.”

Benjamin said Fogle told him that with three minutes left on the game clock, the band was to leave immediately. “Don’t play, march, speak, etc., just go get on the buses and leave,” Benjamin said. “So that’s what we did. While putting the instruments away, boys on bikes were riding around circling our buses while holding the Confederate flag.

“They did this at least three times before a police officer started chasing them off. We loaded as fast as we could and waited for the football team to load so we could all leave safely, and we were able to leave without any other issues.”

Rashid Jenkins, a member of Trotwood-Madison’s band parent committee, said he received apologies from a couple Wapakoneta school or booster members.

Tim Stried, Director of Information Services for the Ohio High School Athletic Association, said Wapakoneta is scheduled to serve as a neutral host site Friday night for a game between Ottawa-Glandorf and Indian Lake.

“I’m not familiar with that incident,” Stried said of the allegations involving Wapakoneta personnel. “So, obviously, if there’s truth to that, we’d want to have a conversation with the folks running the facility.”

Fogle said he didn’t want to address specific allegations or whether the school would talk with the OHSAA.

“I just don’t want to inflame it, Fogle said. “What comes out of that remains to be seen, we need to follow protocol.”

“There were incidents reported and observed at the football game that we most certainly consider unacceptable. When we learned of these incidents, we acted quickly to address the issue if it was possible. We did not learn of all the reported incidents until well after the game.”

“Our goal and hope now is to simply move forward and use this as a positive learning experience for our students.”