Laurel School District apologizes for football game incident, says students involved are “remorseful”

The Laurel School District issued a statement Tuesday afternoon apologizing for Friday night’s football game where over a dozen Laurel High School students paraded around with profanity laced t-shirts to antagonize the Indian River High School football players and their fans.

Laurel School District Superintendent Shawn Larrimore did not immediately respond to our requests for comment and instead issued the following statement on the district’s website:

“The Laurel School District is aware of the unacceptable incident at last Friday’s playoff football game vs. Indian River, in which a few members of our LHS student section made very poor decisions at halftime by changing into shirts that contained profane and unsportsmanlike language.  This poor decision was made worse by these students then visiting the opposing bleachers of the Indian River fans. 

The Laurel High students involved have met with LHS and District administration as of Monday morning. These students are being held accountable according to the Laurel School District Code of Conduct.   Due to family and student privacy laws, we will not be sharing the disciplinary measures the students face.  However, all students have taken full responsibility for their actions and are seeking to make amends for those actions, which they realize have hurt some and embarrassed many. 

In speaking directly with these students, I can attest that they are sincerely remorseful and now understand their focus should have been on cheering on their team instead of denigrating the opponent.

The Laurel School District and Laurel High School will use this reprehensible occurrence as a teaching moment.  We will continue to have discussion with our student body about how to best create an enthusiastic, yet sportsmanlike atmosphere, while also working with administrative staff to ensure that visiting fans have a positive and welcoming experience while attending Laurel athletics events. 

On behalf of The Laurel School District and the Laurel Board of Education, we extend our apologies to the Indian River players, fans, and parents. “

The following photos shared to the Delaware High School Athletes Parent Group on Facebook were widely circulated on social media, showing multiple students wearing homemade t-shirts with vulgarities aimed at the Indian River High School football team.

Parents of some of the football players from Indian River were outraged during the game when they saw the students, including the parents of the Hall brothers who play for Indian River and were directly targeted as part of the incendiary display at the game. The Mother of the two players called into the Dan Gaffney Show on Delaware 105.9 on Monday morning to express her concerns and call out the Laurel School District and its administration who later would not specify what disciplinary action was taken against the students involved. 

“They were obviously ya know being belligerent and threatening,” she stated. “Then they ran off to the far side of the bleachers, stood there for quite some time, flipping everybody off, and I happen to be the mother of the Hall boys. So, it was pretty disturbing.”

According to the caller, nothing was done at the game to stop the students, who came over to the Indian River stands to intentionally antagonize the fans and players of the opposing team.

“Really, nothing was done,” she continued. “We had made mention to the police, the police went over to the other side when the kids went back over to their own bleachers, and they tried to hide the masks and what not, like ‘oh, no it wasn’t us.’ And that was that.”

So far, there has been no public statement from the Laurel School District over what happened, enraging parents who are demanding that disciplinary action be taken against the students involved in the derogative display.

“They conspired to do this,” another caller said of the students on the Dan Gaffney Show while recounting what he witnessed at Friday’s game. “What’s scary was, those kids were just allowed to do what they were going to do on that side line, and it was kind of, I wasn’t scared for myself but I was scared for younger kids seeing what was going on. It was an embarrassment for humanity to be honest with you that that was allowed to go on.”

Laurel ended up winning the game and were 27 points ahead at the time when the incident occurred.

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