Investigation Finds Wells Students Did Not Knowingly or Intentionally Mock Native Americans
The Wells-Ogunquit School Committee held a special session Wednesday night to address allegations by a Lisbon woman of Native American heritage who claimed she witnessed a "display of racism, ignorance and mockery" at last week's Lisbon vs. Wells High School football game.
Superintendent Jim Daly spoke at the meeting about an investigation that was conducted into the allegations of Amelia Tuplin of Lisbon, which was summarized in the minutes of the meeting:
A thorough investigation was conducted surrounding the game interviewing as many stakeholders as possible, including: Booster members, concession personnel, school
personnel from other schools, local reporters present at the game, and police officers on duty at the event.
As part of the investigation, surveillance video, game film, and photos of the area were reviewed to gain a better understanding of the climate and the actions that took place.
The findings proved that the fan base displayed appropriate school spirit, typical at many area high schools. The cheerleaders had affixed red “W”’s to their faces to support the team. No chants or hand-to-mouth gestures were observed by those in attendance. The SRO stated he did not hear any taunting or negative verbal comments that would be construed as racist. The team’s break down dance at the end of the game was done in celebration of a victory as has been done since the mid-80’s.
The investigation results showed that the students/fans did not knowingly or intentionally mock the Native American culture.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Daly responded to Tuplin's concerns in a letter, but she thinks the investigation was not thorough enough. The newspaper stated that she said she will be filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission over the incident.
Daly also recommended at the board meeting that there be an investigation and review of the use of the school mascot and logo.