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    Monday, September 25, 2023

    Montville High cheerleader says she was called racist slur at game

    Montville — A high school cheerleader says she was screamed at, spat on and called a racist slur by students at East Catholic High School following a football game in Manchester on Friday night.

    "Go home, n-----," is what cheerleader Nadya Wynn, 16, says a couple of East Catholic students said to her as she was attempting to grab her bag to leave the game.

    "I finally lost it and started having a panic attack," said Wynn. "To have hundreds of people screaming at you and have racial slurs thrown at you, getting spit at and water thrown at you is scary, especially if it has never happened in your life before. I never want to have this happen in my life ever again."

    Montville Superintendent of Schools Laurie Pallin said she spoke Monday morning to Glenn Lungarini, the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools/Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference because of "the serious nature" of the accounts she had received about the game. Pallin said she requested that the CIAC conduct an investigation.

    "CIAC has appointed an investigator to gather the evidence necessary to gain a complete understanding of the event," she said via email Monday afternoon.

    Sean Brennan, president of East Catholic, said administrators met with students Monday to reiterate the school's Student Code of Conduct and the behavioral expectations they have for students.

    He also said that while they do not believe anything inappropriate was said at Friday's game, the school would continue to investigate and take the matter seriously.

    "East Catholic High School is a community where all students are accepted and appreciated, and we have a zero tolerance policy for derisive and or unkind words or behavior directed at fellow students or students from other schools," he said. "We have been in contact with the CIAC and will cooperate with any next steps."

    Brennan asked that anyone with information that would assist the investigation share it with him.

    Last year, two students at East Catholic faced disciplinary action after videos of them saying the same racist slur surfaced on social media, according to reports in the Hartford Courant.

    Wynn, who is on the cheerleading team with her sister, Sabria Wynn, 14, is of Black, Native American and Caucasian descent. Sabria was also at the game Friday.

    Sabria Wynn said Montville fans and East Catholic fans shared the same bleachers but at opposite ends.

    Nadya Wynn said before she was called the slur, the cheerleading team arrived at the game and was welcomed by East Catholic's cheerleading team. She said it wasn't until the game began that the cheerleaders started to hear hositility from East Catholic's student section.

    The Wynns said the students also catcalled the cheerleaders as they walked to the concession stand during half-time.  

    Later, in the third quarter, Nadya Wynn said parents at both ends of the bleachers started to argue and "get into each other's faces." She said she watched as East Catholic's coach jumped over the fence and into the stands and started fighting with the parents too.

    The situation escalated in the fourth quarter, she said.

    When East Catholic won the game 27-26 in overtime, East Catholic students stormed the field to where Wynn and the other cheerleaders were, she said.

    "They were yelling and cheering on their team at first until they started screaming and yelling at us," Wynn said.

    That is when Wynn said the students began to taunt the Montville cheerleaders, calling them losers, taking their food and bags, spitting on them and throwing water on them. That's when Wynn said some students called her the n-word. The East Catholic football players also stomped on their belongings, she said.  

    Montville resident Melissa Mikula said she heard the students calling Wynn the slur when she decided to step in and help the 15 cheerleaders get off the field. 

    Mikula, who said she also saw the East Catholic coach climb the fence earlier in the game, said that when the game ended East Catholic students ran across the bleachers as East Catholic players approached the fans who were on the field, "sandwiching" the Montville cheerleaders.

    In the commotion, Mikula said, when she asked an East Catholic coach and Brennan for assistance, they did not help.

    Brandon Brown, whose son plays for Montville, said he saw East Catholic students spit on and push the cheerleaders while stepping on their belongings.   

    Mikula and Brown said they did not see any police officers.

    Montville head cheerleading coach Kayla Simon declined to comment when asked Monday about the incident.  

    Montessa Wynn, the mother of Nadya and Sabria, said she is appalled and disheartened that in 2021, people continue to use the n-word.

    "People are not born to hate, they are taught it," she said.


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