LUNENBURG (CBS) —The parents of a Lunenburg football player who was the target of a hate crime, say they feel like they’ve been lied to since day one.
Racist graffiti was spray painted on the home of Isaac Phillips, a player on the high school football team.
On Monday morning, the parents of Isaac Phillips met with Lunenburg’s Superintendent of Schools.
“Today we found out there have been allegations about two football players that have used the word during two past football games,” Andrea Brazier said. The word was allegedly used against Worcester South players in two recent games. “They’ve been telling us since day one that they can’t believe this word would be used in our football program and now we find out it has been used.”
Students and teachers were wearing red to school on Monday, to show their support for Phillips.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports
Sunday night, hundreds turned out for a rally on the town common to denounce racism and show support for Phillips.
Phillips did not attend school on Monday and has said he wants to transfer to Leominster High School. His mother hopes he changes his mind.
“I want him to sit on it for a few days. In his mind he just wants to leave,” Brazier said. ‘I was hoping someone would come forward. I’m hoping he does want to come back. We have three other kids, his father coaches for another team. We have a lot of ties here.”
Brazier said school officials told them they have questioned some football players on the team.
“They have known about previous allegations so it seems to me we’ve been lied to from day one,” Brazier said.
State Rep. Jen Benson served on the Lunenburg School Committee prior to going to the State House. She says a thorough investigation is ongoing.
“We all chose to live in Lunenburg to raise our kids because it’s a small town, people know each other,” Benson told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “There is a sense of camaraderie and safety and this just shatters that.”
School officials have since canceled the last football game of the season.
“It’s a real betrayal for all of us in town,” Benson said. “It’s a reminder we have to go back home and talk to our families and kids and recommit ourselves in the schools to teaching tolerance and respect.”
Benson said while serving on the school committee, she took part in writing one of the first-ever anti-bullying and anti-hazing policies in the state.
Part of the investigation, she says, will include finding out if Phillips was bullied prior to Friday’s discovery and whether those instances were ever reported to school officials.
Brazier says when she heard her son’s cleats were thrown in the trash and the tire on his bike slashed, she went right to the football coach.
“We all want answers but it’s not necessarily going to happen instantly, we have to let the investigation take place,” she said.