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Letters Regarding Manual Football Game

Sep. 23, 2017

Follow-up letter sent to Manual High School community on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, regarding the football game between Manual High School and Weld Central High School. 

Sept. 24, 2017

Dear Manual High School Community,

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with support and kindness for our community. In the past weeks and months, we have been brave – challenged by our fears over DACA, as well as the incredibly difficult deaths of two of our fellow Manual students, Mardale Jay and Yazmine Ramos-Barajas.

It is in this light that I am asking our community and media to respect the healing and grieving process our students are going through by allowing us to return our focus to school and the upcoming spirit week and homecoming activities that can make high school so fun. Our kids deserve this, especially after laying two classmates to rest.

Each day at Manual, we try to instill that love conquers, positivity prevails and that we can learn from and overcome our obstacles. This week at Manual, just like every week in our classrooms, we will use our current context and community as a foundation to connect our learning with our school’s mission and vision.

Tomorrow’s junior varsity game with Weld Central has been canceled and we are reaching out to the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) for support in ensuring all future athletic contests are conducted in a positive spirit.

To our alumni and community, we hope to see you at Homecoming this weekend and always appreciate your love, concern and support.

We will certainly keep everyone updated on more throughout this process.

We are better together,
Nick Dawkins


Letter sent to Manual High School community following a football game Friday, Sept. 22, between Manual High School and Weld Central High School. 

Sept. 23, 2017

Dear Manual High School Community,

I hope you are enjoying this wonderful first fall weekend! I apologize for the Saturday email but I want to ensure you are updated about what occurred at our Friday night football game with Weld Central High School. What occurred is extremely concerning and I want to share the facts as I know them at this time.

Last night, the Weld Central High School team, which has a Rebel mascot, displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the game, offending many members of the Manual community. We asked them to remove the flag and they did so. However, the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field. Three of our players were injured during the game, including a student who suffered a concussion and a student who was transported to the hospital for a leg injury. I want to emphasize that the players received treatment and will be fine. In addition, some of our players reported that, when tackled, players from the opposing team taunted them with racial slurs.

I spoke with one of the team’s coaches at the game and am following up with their high school principal. Our superintendent, Tom Boasberg, and our Board of Education have been notified and Supt. Boasberg is reaching out to the Weld County superintendent to express our concerns that such symbols of racism and hatred, and racial slurs, ought to have no place in athletics or in any part of our students’ experiences. We are all very concerned about what occurred and are trying to gather as much information as we can so we can determine next steps. Please know that we are not aware of similar issues occurring when we played the Weld Central High School team last season. However, based on the information we have been able to gather, what happened at Friday night’s game is unacceptable.

I will keep you updated as we move forward and please feel free to reach out to me.

Thank you,
Nick Dawkins