DENVER — A Confederate flag was not displayed during a high school football game last week between Weld Central High School and Manual High School, according to a joint statement from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J that was released Tuesday night.
On Saturday, Manual principal Nick Dawkins sent a letter to parents that was filled with accusations of racism against the Weld Central team.
Dawkins wrote the Confederate flag was displayed during the first quarter and when the school asked that the flag be removed, it was.
He added “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” saying three players were injured during the game and racial slurs were used.
But people who attended the game disputed the account and Weld County School District Re-3J said there were “no signs of a Confederate flag” at the game. No photos or videos have surfaced proving Dawkins’ allegations.
“(D)espite our best efforts, we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” according to the letter that was signed by both schools’ principals and school districts’ superintendents.
“Based on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.”
Several Manual eyewitnesses reported seeing Weld Central fans try to bring a Confederate flag into the game and wear clothing with flag images, according to the letter.
“To be clear, the Confederate flag plays no role in Weld Central, and neither school condones symbols or acts of racism,” according to the letter.
Dear Manual and Weld Central High School Communities,
We as school leaders and superintendents are joining together on the common ground we share – our deep love for our students and our communities, and our profound belief that our mission as educators is to build bridges of understanding.
This past weekend has been difficult for both our communities, and we want to move forward in a way that supports learning and healing. We know there are greatly conflicting accounts as to what occurred Friday night, and we also know that, despite our best efforts, we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened. Based on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag. At the same time, multiple Manual eyewitnesses reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images. To be clear, the confederate flag plays no role in Weld Central, and neither school condones symbols or acts of racism.
Our focus now must be on working together for the sake of our students. Together, we are laying the foundation for a Student Leadership Exchange between our schools, one in which student leaders from both schools come together and share ideas and perspectives. As part of the exchange, our student leaders will have the opportunity to visit each other’s schools and communities. We believe we have much to learn from each other.
As we work together, we encourage our students, families, educators and community members to focus on moving forward and building bridges. At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together.
Nick Dawkins, Manual High School principal
Dan Kennedy, Weld Central High School principal
Tom Boasberg, Denver Public Schools superintendent
Greg Rabenhorst, Weld County School District Re-3J superintendent