Tysons, VA

A second reported incident of racism at a football game involving Fairfax County Public Schools students has prompted the school system to schedule a meeting with athletic teams and coaches.

FCPS will be holding a “stand-down” meeting for all athletic teams and coaches “to begin this important conversation to support student-athletes in demonstrating appropriate behaviors required to play sports” in the school division, according to a new statement from the school system.

The statement “speaks to several incidents and we acknowledge that we have work to do as a school division,” FCPS spokesperson Lucy Caldwell told Tysons Reporter.

Of the “several incidents” Caldwell alluded to, two have been widely reported.

The more recent incident reportedly occurred at a junior varsity football game between T.C. Williams High School and James W Robinson, Jr. Secondary School on Monday night (April 5). During the game, a Robinson student allegedly spat on a T.C. Williams player and called him a racial slur. After this happened, the T.C. Williams team left the field in protest.

In the earlier incident, varsity Marshall High School football players were accused of using racial slurs against Wakefield High School in Arlington. One allegedly spat on a Wakefield player.

In the weeks since the game on March 5, the Wakefield students and parents have launched a campaign to demand accountability and change.

FCPS says in the statement that was released this morning that it “is aware of a number of allegations regarding the use of racially charged language and racial slurs in the past few weeks.”

“Our school division embraces diversity and strongly condemns hate speech and offensive, hateful language or racial intolerance of any kind on the sports fields, in school buildings or anywhere on or off school premises,” the statement says. “We will hold anyone found to have used such language while representing any of our schools accountable for their words and actions.”

FCPS says that players heard using such language will be ejected and suspended for future games, in accordance with Virginia High School League policies. Unsportsmanlike conduct will result in an immediate review of the game by officials and coaches.

The school division pledged to investigate “any incidents thoroughly” and to take “swift and appropriate action” if necessary. It has not, however, provided any update on the status of the investigation into the incident involving Marshall and Wakefield, despite multiple requests for comment from Tysons Reporter. Read More

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Updated at 7:30 p.m. — The superintendents of Fairfax County and Arlington public schools say the Virginia High School League should mandate diversity and inclusion training for all high school athletes, coaches, and officials after allegations of racism at a football game between Marshall and Wakefield high schools led to escalating tensions.

Stating that their divisions “embrace diversity and strongly condemn hate speech and racial intolerance of any kind,” FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand and APS Superintendent Francisco Durán called the incident “an opportunity to take a step back and discuss how actions have consequences and that our words can deeply hurt others.”

“This situation has deeply affected both school divisions, our families, students, and our respective communities,” they said. “In recent days, it has provoked strong emotions in both communities, and has become divisive by pitting schools against one another. This is not about one team versus another; it is about our students and how we can come together to support them and take necessary actions to ensure this situation does not repeat itself. Our students deserve better.”

Brabrand and Durán added that FCPS and APS will both “provide training and education for our athletes, coaches, and staff so that, together, we are all working to support students.”

The full statement can be found on the Fairfax County Public Schools website.

Earlier: Members of Marshall High School’s football community, including the coach, players, and parents, are refuting previously reported accounts of racist taunts against the Wakefield High School football team.

On Wednesday (March 17), Wakefield students came forward detailing their experiences in which they allege being called the n-word and “boy” during a game against Marshall High School on March 5. One student said he was spat on.

Wakefield players and parents have started a campaign calling for accountability from school athletics officials, including a petition demanding “an immediate apology” from Marshall and its football program that has garnered almost 5,000 signatures.

Arlington Public Schools confirmed that an incident occurred, and Fairfax County Public Schools said it had investigated and is addressing the reports, but in the last 24 hours, Marshall community members have issued statements and written letters disputing the Wakefield players’ accounts.

“Our players, coaches, and parents refute these allegations whole-heartedly,” Coach Jason Strickland said in a letter to the school community. “I believe our players, coaches, and parents because I did not witness nor have I been shown actual proof of these accusations occurring.”

Following up on the letter, an FCPS spokesperson said Strickland’s response addresses a “highly charged situation.”

“Families, students, and community members are upset and emotions are high. Regretfully, harsh words and accusations on social media have also contributed,” she said in a statement. “It would not be unusual for a coach to want to communicate directly with his or her players and their families about an intense matter that been publicly escalated by multiple parties.”

Parents of students at Marshall also penned a statement that refuted every claim made by the Wakefield community and criticized media reports for being one-sided.

“We at Marshall High School are defending the players of the Marshall Statesmen football team for remaining strong and resilient regarding the allegations of racism and other slanderous remarks by Wakefield High School players,” the statement said. “There is no culture of racism and bigotry at Marshall High School on the football team.”

They also said Wakefield students called Marshall students the n-word and other derogatory names. Further, they added, Marshall students had to wear masks, so they could not spit on students. Coach Strickland confirmed that Marshall was enforcing mask-wearing during the game. Read More

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Marshall High School players called members of the Wakefield High School football team in Arlington County racial slurs during a recent game, an Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirms.

Wakefield student-athletes Lukai Hatcher and Izaiah Lang took to social media last night (Wednesday) to post about the events they say transpired during an away game against Marshall High School on March 5.

“Me and my teammates were called racial slurs, taunted, and even spit on by Marshall players,” they said in a widely-shared joint statement posted on Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere. “We also experienced unfair treatment by each of the refs and were harassed from the sidelines by coaches and Marshall parents.”

Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia confirmed a portion of the allegations.

“An incident did occur between Marshall and Wakefield high schools where Marshall players used racial slurs at the Wakefield football team,” Bellavia told ARLnow, an affiliate site of Tysons Reporter.

Wakefield Principal Dr. Christian Willmore says the racial slurs included the n-word and the word “boy.” He also confirmed that there was spitting.

A Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson told Tysons Reporter in a statement that the school system has “expectations of behavior” for students and staff and that “allegations such as these are taken seriously.”

“We does not accept acts of intolerance,” the statement said. “When administration learned of the March 5 matter, we conducted a thorough investigation. The investigation was extensive and involved VHSL, officials, staff, players and families from both teams.”

FCPS personnel, including school leadership, regional office administrators, and the divison’s chief equity officer, are working with all the families involved and the coaches from both teams to develop a plan for restorative justice, the statement said.

“At FCPS, our primary responsibility is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Every student must understand the value of appreciating each other’s differences, extending common courtesy, and treating each other with respect,” FCPS said. “We must all be committed to do better.”

Game footage shows a fight breaking out between the teams. APS confirmed that three Wakefield students were given three-game suspensions as a result of the fights, but the sanctions have since been knocked down to one-game suspensions, per Virginia High School League guidelines.

Marshall ended up winning the game, 19-18.

Hatcher and Lang alleged in their statement that what happened on March 5 has happened before.

“Marshall High School’s athletic teams have been known to demonstrate a culture of racism and unsportsmanlike behavior,” including foul play on the basketball court, they said. “We are shining the light on the continuing culture of tolerance for unjust and discriminatory practices in sports for minority athletes and seeking accountability in support of change.”

“We as a team complained to the refs all game about the way that we were being treated yet the flags were consistently thrown on us and even our coaches,” Hatcher and Lang added. “We should not be punished for defending ourselves and each other especially because during the entire game the refs, [whose] job it is to ensure each game is fair and who were supposed to protect and defend us, did not.”

The claims made against the referees, coaches and parents have not been confirmed.

Hatcher and Lang are pressing for change in the wake of the March 5 game.

“This isn’t new and enough is enough!” they wrote.

Photos via @JavellEdge/Twitter, @lukai_hatcher/Instagram

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Tysons may not have the liveliest nightlife at the moment, but that could soon change as more late-night restaurants and places to hang out open. “Tysons After Dark” will highlight a different spot every week.

Rango’s Tex-Mex and Grill has party plans this weekend with its first anniversary on Saturday, followed by happy hour specials on Super Bowl Sunday.

The father and son-operated restaurant opened last year at 1934 Old Gallows Road to fill a taco and margarita void in Tysons, the owner told Tysons Reporter.

The restaurant serves up a variety of quesadillas, enchiladas, chimichangas and fajitas, along with margaritas, wine and daiquiris.

For Rango’s birthday celebration on Saturday (Feb. 1), diners can order 27 oz. margaritas for $12 and Mexican bottle beers — Corona, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial and Pacifico — for $3. The restaurant will also have its regular happy hour specials from 3-7 p.m. at the bar.

For the Super Bowl on Sunday, the restaurant plans to offer several discounts during the game. For food, diners can get discounted chicken wings, BBQ ribs and carnitas. For drinks, the restaurant will have specials on its margaritas, sangria, mojitos, beers, wine and mixed drinks.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday and until 10 p.m. on Sundays, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Happy hour is from 3-7 p.m. at the bar every day.

Photo via Rango’s Tex-Mex and Grill/Facebook

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The Super Bowl is this Sunday, meaning either the San Francisco 49ers or the Kansas City Chiefs will become the NFL’s latest champion.

This year’s Super Bowl, though, isn’t just about the game on Sunday.

Fox, the Super Bowl’s host, is running a campaign to extend Sunday festivities into “Super Monday” — an unofficial holiday giving football fans and Fox viewers a chance to win $10,000, Adweek reported.

“The network’s ‘Super Monday’ campaign, which kicked off during the final weekend of the NFL regular season on Dec. 29, features the ‘Mayor of Monday’ (played by Saturday Night Live alum Finesse Mitchell, who appears in Fox’s new sitcom, Outmatched) telling sluggish office workers that he has created a new holiday,” according to Adweek.

What are your plans? Will you be observing “Super Monday” or heading back into the office? Let us know in the poll below.

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The Super Bowl is this Sunday (Feb. 2) and a local non-profit is sharing drunk driving prevention tips ahead of game day.

Based in Falls Church, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is urging people to wear seatbelts, designate a sober driver and consider using ride-sharing services or public transit.

“Even if you have every confidence in your own ability to not drive impaired, that confidence doesn’t extend to the next driver,” WRAP’s President Kurt Gregory Erickson said in a press release.

For hosts, WRAP encourages bars to stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the game ends, to serve food with alcohol and to never serve a person who is drunk.

Other tips include using a non-carbonated base in alcoholic punches so that the body absorbs the alcohol faster and offering non-alcoholic beverages.

“Motorists in Greater Washington who suspect that they are sharing a roadway with an impaired driver should report such by safely dialing 911 in the District of Columbia or Maryland and #77 in Virginia,” Erickson said.

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

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A house for sale near Wolf Trap is tied to the story of neighbors who teamed up to keep kids safe during their football practice from the D.C. sniper.

In 2002, a shooting spree in the D.C.-area killed 10 people. and wounded three other people over a three-week period.

“The Vienna Steelers banned together in the Coral Ridge cul-de-sac of one of the players’ homes,” Morgan Samson with The Casey Samson Team said in a blog post. “Parents stood guard at the entrances of the neighborhood so the boys could continue to practice.”

The team included Head Coach Casey Samson, Quarterback Billy Samson and “supporting dad” Pat Samson — “all of whom are now members of The Casey Samson Team,” according to the post.

The Casey Samson Team has the house at 9464 Coral Crest Lane listed for $1,550,000.

The 8,200-square-foot house has five bedrooms, a three-car-garage and includes a renovated kitchen, walk-in closets and two fireplaces. The lower level features a recreation room, playroom, hobby room and exercise room.

The house will be open from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 17), Morgan Samson said.

Photo via Casey Samson Team, map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Marshall Football Game Moved — Marshall High School’s senior night and football game against Wakefield has been moved from Friday to tonight (Thursday) due to expected heavy rain on Friday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Tysons Ritz to Offer Free Election Day Cocktail — “A complimentary cocktail, called Where the Left and Right Meet (Jack Daniels, California mulled wine reduction, lemon juice, simple syrup), will be served to all guests wearing an ‘I Voted’ sticker.” [Eater]

What $3.5 Million Buys in McLean — “The amenities range from spa-like baths, a sauna, media room, bar area to an elevator and room for a pool and tennis court. The bedrooms themselves could be considered highlights too. Among the choosings are a master suite with a sitting room and balcony and a lower level suite with a separate entrance.” [Patch]

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