• By Bob Vlach Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS coach finds racial slur written on vehicle after game

The student who wrote the N-word on the vehicle window of Woodford County High School girls’ basketball Coach Erik Daniels after his team’s home loss last Friday night, Jan. 3, has been identified, schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins told the Sun Monday afternoon. “We have taken appropriate action,” said Hawkins, “and now what we want to try to do moving forward is to use this as an opportunity to educate, to reinforce the values that we have in our school district. Obviously, this is disappointing when you have a situation like this occur. It does not reflect who we are as a school or a school district.” An initial statement on the district website said, “A racial slur was found written in the moisture on a window of the vehicle belonging to our girls’ head basketball coach (and teacher at WCHS).” It noted law enforcement had been informed and an investigation by WCHS administrators, including a review of security camera footage, had begun. Hawkins commended the WCHS administration, for working last weekend to review the video footage in order to identify the responsible student. He also commended Coach Daniels for his response to the situation, which “showed a great deal of character and grace.” Daniels, a former University of Kentucky basketball player in his first year at WCHS, who discussed the incident Saturday morning in a Facebook post, spoke to the Sun on Monday afternoon about the community’s reaction. “… I’ve just been getting a lot of positive response from the community and everyone else who supports me and the basketball program here,” said Daniels. He said he’s hopeful the student who wrote the N-word on his vehicle will learn from this experience. “But we’re going to get past this. Hopefully, my girls will get a chance to learn something out of it also because for me the hard thing was for my children to see it because I have an 11- and 12-year-old so it was difficult for them,” Daniels said. “I had to explain to them about the word and how it affects people … stuff I shouldn’t have to be telling an 11- and 12-year old ... So it’s hard for my family right now, but we’re dealing with it and just trying to move past the situation.” Andrea “Bug” Brown, a former WCHS soccer coach and area representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said she attended last Friday’s game and Daniels telephoned her about the situation after his family saw the racial slur. Brown said her first thoughts were of his children, and then she immediately started to pray for Daniels, his family, the community and whomever did this. “I’m so proud of the (high school) administration … for investigating it instead of sweeping it under the rug,” said Brown. She said Journey Church planned to host a Fellowship of Christian Athletes dinner in honor of Coach Daniels, his team and family Wednesday, Jan. 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m. “We want to show coach that our community is full of love – not hate. And that’s not welcomed here,” said Brown. “I’m praying for the family of whoever’s involved in this, and we want to look at the heart of a person – not the skin color.” “… That is what this community is all about – is to love one another.” “Anytime you can do something that’s going to show that you care about somebody that’s always a positive,” said Hawkins. Daniels asked the community to rally around his team and “just become one again” by coming to Saturday’s home game against Great Crossing High School. “Sometimes,” he said, “unfortunate things do happen that bring people together. And, hopefully, this is one situation where something positive can come out of it.” Daniels said he planned to talk to his players on the team’s bus ride to Spencer County for a game on Monday (Jan. 6). “Some of these kids, they haven’t really experienced anything like this so I know they have questions,” he said, “… For me, it’ll be a time to educate and teach the girls. … Hopefully, our girls are strong enough to just move past it and learn from it and grow.” During Brown’s tenure coaching girls’ soccer team at WCHS, she said, “The good outweighed the bad. And that’s what I impressed upon him (Daniels). The good is going to outweigh this bad. And he believes that.”

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