Superintendent responds to viral bus incident: ‘Our students should not have to experience this sort of bias and racism’

Local News

The superintendent of the Rock Island-Milan School District responded to an incident between a bus driver and the Rock Island High School boys soccer team that went viral on social media.

“Some of the soccer team members were confronted by the charter bus driver who refused to let the players board the bus because the players were carrying a Mexican flag in celebration of Mexican Independence Day,” Dr. Reginald Lawrence II said in a statement sent to Local 4 News. “The team members got off the bus and refused to board again. Unfortunately, the issue was not able to be resolved in time for the Soccer team to travel to the game, and the game had to be rescheduled.”

“Our students should not have to experience this sort of bias and racism,” Lawrence continued. “What took place was extremely disappointing and unacceptable, however, our RIHS Soccer Team and the Head Coach conducted themselves with respect and dignity.”

Here is his full statement:

Dear Rock Island-Milan School District Community,

On September 16, 2021, our Rock Island High School Boys Soccer team encountered an unfortunate situation with a charter bus company the school district contracted with for transportation to an out of town soccer game. Some of the soccer team members were confronted by the charter bus driver who refused to let the players board the bus because the players were carrying a Mexican flag in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. The team members got off the bus and refused to board again. Unfortunately, the issue was not able to be resolved in time for the Soccer team to travel to the game, and the game had to be rescheduled. With all that transpired, our RIHS Soccer Team and the Head Coach conducted themselves with respect and dignity.

Our students should not have to experience this sort of bias and racism. What took place was extremely disappointing and unacceptable, however, our RIHS Soccer Team and the Head Coach conducted themselves with respect and dignity.

The Rock Island-Milan School District is a school district of many nations, and we are here to support our students. All of the work (educational, social/emotional and extra-curricular) that the Rock Island-Milan School District does revolves around Cultural Intelligence (CQ), which allows us to gain a better understanding of cultures and helps us to work in a positive and compassionate way with people from various cultures.

We hope that more discussion develops from this situation, because these conversations are more important than ever. It is our hope that the Rock Island-Milan School District can lead with shared values of justice, opportunity, community and equity. Racism is counterproductive to our values, and we need to do everything in our power to end it.

Sincerely,

Dr. Reginald Lawrence II

Superintendent, Rock Island-Milan School District #41

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