School officials investigating racial incident at Wareham, Old Rochester hockey game
Officials are investigating after a Wareham hockey player was reportedly called a racial slur by an Old Rochester Regional High School/Fairhaven player and than spat on by a different player during a game in Marion Sunday, Feb. 10.
The Wareham student, 16-year-old Quirino DoCanto, was reportedly called the N-word by a member of the opposing team between the second and third period of the game.
At the end third period, DoCanto was allegedly spat on by another of Old Rochester’s players, who was reported as yelling a different derogatory statement at the player. The spitting was allegedly captured in a video posted to Instagram, which can be viewed by clicking here.
The incident reportedly took place at Tabor Academy’s ice rink, which is used for home games played by Old Rochester.
In a written statement, Old Rochester Superintendent Dr. Douglas White called the allegations “deeply disturbing and wholly inconsistent with the high standards of behavior demanded of our student-athletes.”
“The Old Rochester Regional School district is working collaboratively with the Wareham Public Schools, the MIAA and law enforcement to respond to this allegation consistent with applicable laws and school district policy,” White’s statement went on to say. “Respecting the diversity of all students and student-athletes remains our top priority and we strive to promote tolerance in all aspects of our educational and extra-curricular programming.”
Due to the confidentiality rights of all parties involved, White added that Old Rochester was unable to comment any further on the allegations, and the identities of the suspected ORR/Fairhaven students involved were not released.
Marion Police reportedly responded to Tabor Academy after the game at 10:09 p.m. on Feb. 10 after an ORR staff member requested their presence.
Reports stated that as the game was coming to an end, “words were being exchanged between opposing parents and students.”
Officers were reportedly on scene for half hour while the crowd dispersed and no issues were reported.
Marion Police Chief John Garcia said his department did not become aware of the allegations of spitting and the use of the N-word until the information began circulating on social media.
According to Garcia, one of the ORR players who was allegedly involved in the incident had received threats on social media on Feb. 12. These threats were then investigated by Marion Police.
After this incident, Garcia said school officials and coaches had decided the best course of action would be to let the schools investigate and handle the situation on their own.
Marion Police are reportedly in contact with the student resource offices of all schools involved. Garcia said he is being kept up to date with any new information that is discovered.
“Criminal charges are not likely at this point,” he said.
At Tuesday night’s Selectman meeting in Wareham, town and school officials commended the response of Wareham students to the incident.
“Had our students not been acting with grace, dignity and professionalism, it would not have gone well,” said Wareham Superintendent Kimberly Shaver-Hood. “If anyone questions the way our kids were acting, I would encourage them to call me.”
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that in this day and age kids resort to this kind of thing,” added Selectman Peter Teitelbaum. “I get it, emotions run high on the ice, but there’s no need for this sort of thing.”
DoCanto’s father, also named Quirino, is a teacher at Wareham High School and a coach for the Viking’s hockey team. He called the incident upsetting in a post made to Facebook on Feb. 11.
“This isn't the first time that word has been used on the ice and I'm sure it won't be the last,” he said the post. “But we'll continue to grow from every experience.”
DoCanto’s father went on to further commend the response of his son’s teammates, who he said remained composed and had his son’s back “100 percent.”
“I'm proud of our team and the program we run,” he said.
On Feb. 12, additional members of the Wareham High School community rallied behind the hockey player by wearing “Blue for Q.”
“Last night one of our athletes experienced hatred of the most disgusting kind,” said Wareham Girls Soccer Coach Megan Kashner on Facebook. “I have decided to wear Blue for Q to show the unity of Wareham High School. We are lucky to have our Wareham community in all of its diversity and support.”
On Feb. 13, the younger Quirino posted to Twitter to address the incident and resulting social media buzz.
“It’s already been taken care of so let it go, certain people care about the whole thing more than I do and it’s obnoxious how they act [about] it,” he wrote.
The Wareham hockey player added that “the video going around had no racial discrimination intended in it,” referring to the video that allegedly shows spitting.
Another “Blue for Q” rally is expected to take place at Wareham’s Varsity Basketball game on Friday night. The game, which is against Old Rochester, will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Wareham High School.
“For the hockey team, it will just be business as usual,” DoCanto’s father said. “We’re patiently waiting at this point to see what happens, if anything.”