Old Rochester students ‘stand in solidarity’ with Wareham hockey player
Students from Old Rochester Regional High School showed their support for a Wareham hockey player on Friday night, designing a banner to “stand in solidarity against racism” which they brought with them to a championship basketball game between the two schools.
ORR juniors Tori Monteiro and Jendell Teixeira said they crafted the banner with help from their classmates to condemn allegations that a member of the ORR/Fairhaven hockey team had called 16-year-old Quirino DoCanto of Wareham the N-word during a game on Feb. 10.
“It hit too close to home,” said Teixeira. “And we felt obligated to do something. We can’t just pretend that this isn’t happening.”
The incident reportedly took place at Tabor Academy’s ice rink, which is used for home games played by ORR.
In a written statement, ORR Superintendent Dr. Douglas White called the allegations “deeply disturbing and wholly inconsistent with the high standards of behavior demanded of our student-athletes.”
School officials from ORR, Wareham and Fairhaven are reportedly investigating the incident, and the identities of the suspected ORR/Fairhaven students involved have not been released.
The incident quickly went viral on social media alongside a video which reportedly showed another ORR/Fairhaven player spitting on DoCanto.
This sparked a movement called “Blue for Q” on Feb. 12 with members of the Wareham High School community wearing blue in a show of support for DoCanto.
On Feb. 15, fans in the bleachers at Wareham High School were awash in blue once more as ORR and Wareham squared off on the basketball court for the small division South Coast Conference championship title.
Teixeira said ORR students had wanted to wear blue to the game as well, but faced backlash on social media, prompting them to design the banner instead. Dozens showed their support for DoCanto by signing the banner.
DoCanto’s mother, Jennifer DoCanto, was at the game and said she was deeply moved by the show of support.
“It’s a rotten thing,” she said. “But its not the whole of ORR. I really appreciate what these students are doing.”
She added that neighboring communities, such as Dartmouth and Carver, had also adopted the “Blue for Q” movement.
“This has been very hard for my son,” Jennifer said. “But he’s been extremely strong and he’s proud to wear the Wareham jersey. It’s going to take a lot of time to get by, but we’re very thankful for the support we’ve received.”
Both Monteiro and Teixeira said they had been victims of racism at ORR in the past and wanted to raise awareness.
The most memorable incident for them, they said, happened in the eighth grade when a teacher sat them next to each other on the first day of school.
“She was struggling to remember our names,” Teixeira said. “And when another teacher walked in and saw this, he said it was because she had put the two colored students together.”
“Nothing is being done to raise awareness about situations like this,” Monteiro said. “They get reported to administration, but nothing ever happens.”
Both said they were hopeful that the situation would be different for DoCanto.
To read more about the allegations from Sunday night’s hockey game, click here.