After the Capitals eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals, many angry Bruins fans took to Twitter and unleashed a barrage of hateful messages directed to the man who scored the winning goal, Joel Ward.
Ward is one of a few black players in the NHL, and his goal started a firestorm of disturbing tweets coming from a group of fans who thought they were safe under the “anonymity” of the internet.
Unfortunately for some of those Twitter users, their identities were discovered. With a number of the perpetrators exposed to be students at various schools across New England, administrations are struggling to determine whether they should be punished for their racist tweets.
The Gloucester Times discovered that five students from Gloucester High School were among the people who posted racist tweets after the Bruins game. Three of the students are currently student-athletes at the high school.
The school’s administration was sent a message by a Twitter user named kurtbradwill. The user, who resides in the state of Washington, sent an E-mail to Gloucester calling out the names of the users who engaged in the racist messages.
All five of the students shut down their accounts following the immense backlash they received following their messages.
While the Gloucester High School does have a policy regarding online activity at the school, there is no concrete policy regarding social media. The high school does have a different policy regarding after school activities, which states that students can participate if they are “in good standing academically and socially, attend school on the day in question, and have paid any applicable participation fee.”
Superintendent Richard Safier spoke in a prepared statement about the school’s action regarding the students involved.
“We are conducting a full investigation and will consider whether disciplinary action is warranted, and whether the schools have jurisdiction,” said Safier.
“We will implement a strong educational component that looks at the social, moral and legal aspects of such remarks.”
Franklin Pierce University is in the middle of an investigation regarding a freshman who sent out racist tweets from his account following Ward’s goal according to MSNBC.com. While the student did apologize, the school is still determining whether any punishment will be dealt.
A student in Cumberland R.I., posted a racist tweet under an account that featured both his full name, and the high school that he currently attends.
Cumberland’s superintendent Phil Thornton said that the student, who plays for the school’s hockey team, could face possible punishments as well according to the Boston Herald.
“The comments … are deeply disturbing and not part of what we teach,” Thornton said. “We have been in contact with the family and are taking all steps to address this very serious issue.”
A 17-year-old student currently attending St. John’s Prep in Danvers was fired by the sandwich shop he worked in after it was discovered by the owner that he was among those who tweeted that night, according to the Danvers Herald. The sandwich shop sent out an apology on its Facebook page.
The St. John’s student, as with the other cases, will be investigated by the school’s administration to see if any punishment is warranted. With the complicated matters that surround the situation, the investigations and their decisions will be tough ones for the schools to make going forward.