Since the public learned that the Duxbury High Football Team used the term “Auschwitz” and other Jewish-related terms as plays – violating several of the school district’s policies over the last decade – the town has been under the spotlight to reform its athletic program and also to reexamine its culture.
After the team used the “Auschwitz” play during a game in March, the town moved slowly to grasp just how hurtful the phrase was to Jews and others. It did fire the team’s head coach, but many residents demanded that he be rehired. Meanwhile, the district allowed the football season to continue. In the meantime, it hired an independent firm to investigate the incident. The investigators reported that in addition to using Jewish terms and the name of a Nazi concentration camp as plays, homophobic slurs and profanity was uttered on the sidelines.
Months later, the school district has a fresh start – its superintendent has resigned, and its athletic director was not rehired. And this summer, 18 Duxbury High students completed the Salem-based Lappin Foundation’s first ever Holocaust Symposium for Teens, which included a trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. These actions signal the town’s commitment to learning from the investigation and making it a better place to live and learn.