RCS fires high school coach after report of racial slur

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 7, 2021

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Rochester Community Schools has fired a high school coach after the coach allegedly used a racial slur toward a student athlete.

Debi Fragomeni, the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning, sent an email to parents March 1 to alert them of the situation.

“We were recently made aware of an unacceptable incident that occurred where a member of the high-school coaching staff used a racial slur toward a student athlete,” Fragomeni said in the email. “This incident is not representative of the values of our school community, and we are working with the student’s family to promote healing.”

As soon as the district learned of the offensive behavior, Fragomeni said, a thorough investigation was conducted, which resulted in the coach’s immediate termination.

“At Rochester Community Schools, we are committed to providing a warm, caring and supportive environment, where all members are safe, valued and respected. As such, we work to create a climate that prohibits prejudice and discrimination,” she said in the email.

The email did not specify which language was used or identify the coach, student or high school where the incident occured. The district has three high schools — Rochester, Rochester Adams and Stoney Creek.

Fragomeni said the district abides by a respect code and believes that all individuals are entitled to a physically, emotionally and intellectually safe learning and work environment. 

“It is our responsibility to address discriminatory statements and actions,” she said in the email.

The district’s cultural proficiency plan, Fragomeni noted, includes several approaches to promote healing when an incident like this occurs. 

“They involve creating awareness, providing continued education, promoting restorative practices, and taking disciplinary action when necessary,” she said. “We appreciate our community’s support as we continue on our journey toward cultural proficiency.”

The district encouraged those with questions or concerns, to talk to their school principal or use the “Talk to RCS” feature on the district’s website at www.rochester.k12.mi.us.

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