Students from Monessen, Brentwood huddle with Steelers QB to sign sportsmanship pledge
Good sportsmanship is being practiced as much as football at Monessen and Brentwood school districts.
Officials say they hope a positive football game between the teams on Friday in Brentwood will be the result.
Brentwood and Monessen students, districts and communities have been working together for much of the year after an apparent racial incident at a basketball game on Feb. 3. The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League directed the districts to formulate a plan to promote sportsmanship and prevent the use of racial slurs and intimidation.
“We just wanted to make sure that this doesn't occur any longer,” Monessen Superintendent Linda Marcolini said of the ill feeling that marred the basketball game.
An assembly at Monessen on Tuesday kicked off the district's Sportsmanship, Dignity and Respect campaign, during which students from both schools asked their classmates to sign a pledge to improve their behavior and be respectful. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch has been a supporting figure in the schools' work through UPMC's Dignity and Respect Campaign. He spoke at Tuesday's assembly.
“If you're able to (sign the pledge), everything will change,” Batch told the students.
At the Feb. 3 basketball game, two students reportedly wore banana suits and ran on the court during the game. Monessen parents reported the use of racial insults, but the WPIAL took no action after a three-hour hearing on the matter, stating that Brentwood swiftly took care of the incident by ejecting and suspending the costumed students.
Outside of the assembly, Batch said the WPIAL asked him to be part of helping to break down barriers between the students and communities.
“I will be here to support you all as long as possible along the way,” Batch said he told the group of a dozen students — six from each district.
The students presented several behavior modifications Tuesday during the assembly.
“We hope to fit the example for them,” said Monessen junior Lauren Perry, one of the presenters.
Brentwood had a similar assembly in May, and Brentwood sophomore Sydney Luther said the student group has discussed ways to bring the communities together, not just the students. Brentwood High School Principal Jason Olexa and Monessen High School Principal Brian Sutherland said they were pleased with the progress.
“This has been a fantastic experience for students from both schools,” Olexa said. “It really wasn't a big difference between the two communities.”After the WPIAL's decision, the districts met with a consultant to formulate a model for other districts to follow if a similar situation arises, Marcolini said. Students volunteered to be leaders for their peers, she said.
Other community leaders assisted in the districts' conversation, including a representative from the U.S. Attorney's Office and mayors of the respective communities.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Highmark seeks double-digit increase for more benefits, heavy use
- Cops: Washington County surplus store sold stolen items
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Wanted sex offender caught hiding in homemade fort in Washington County
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- Officials identify witness to Port Authority bus crash after releasing photo
- WPIAL, coaches are still looking to schedule Week 9 rivalry games
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop