Lunenburg High School's remaining football games across all levels were canceled Monday after racist graffiti was painted on the home of one of its players and amid allegations of a prior incident in a game against Worcester South High School.
School district superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes made the announcement canceling the annual Thanksgiving Day game with St. Bernard's of Fitchburg and forfeiting the remainder of the school's games.
"We have no tolerance for racism in any form, and we do everything we can to eliminate it from our schools and our community," Calmes said Monday.
Lunenburg's freshman team had been scheduled to play Friday before the foundation of the home of freshman player Isaac Phillips was spray-painted with a racial epithet. "Knights don't need n------," the graffiti said. Lunenburg's mascot is the Knights.
The decision was made to indefinitely postpone Lunenburg's freshman game the weekend before Monday's announcement.
Lunenburg Public Schools' website was updated with the following message from Calmes:
"Since the racial harassment investigations are on-going, I am announcing that the remaining football games of the season have been forfeited. The Lunenburg Public Schools continues investigating allegations related to racial slurs by Lunenburg players directed toward Worcester South players. The police continue to investigate the racial graffiti incident."
Phillips has also been the subject of bullying incidents while on the team, including having his cleats removed from his locker, filled with water and thrown in the trash, his family says, according to reports. The tires of a bicycle he used as transportation home from practice were slashed, he said.
Phillips' mother is white. His father, Anthony, is half black.
The FBI has been called in to investigate the matter, along with the Worcester County District Attorney's office, according to a police department statement issued Saturday. On Monday, Worcester's Telegram & Gazette reported news of the investigation into alleged racial slurs made from Lunenburg players toward Worcester South players during the teams' game Nov. 1. Calmes confirmed an investigation into the Worcester South allegations has been opened.
Lunenburg's varsity team was 4-6 overall and played its last game Nov. 1 against Worcester South.