WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Sen. Greg Ball said Mount Vernon is "equally responsible for the toxic environment" that led to the racially charged incident involving the Section 1 varsity boys basketball playoff game between Mount Vernon and Mahopac on Feb. 27.
Both school districts are continuing the investigation into the incident, which was ignited after Mahopac students – eight of whom have already been suspended and assigned sensitivity training – posted racist Tweets after their school narrowly fell to the Knights 43-40.
“Let’s end the policy through press release and begin the hard work of uniting both communities by properly addressing the issue, without needlessly creating greater divisions," said Ball in a statement released Friday.
Ball represents District 40, which includes Mahopac and two other towns in Putnam County, as well as Cortlandt, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, New Castle, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge, North Salem, Somers and Yorktown.
"Let it be clear, Mount Vernon is equally responsible for the toxic environment that was unfortunately created," Ball said in his statement. "Yet unlike Mahopac, Mount Vernon has yet to take action to hold their fan base and students accountable.
"The reporting of the recent Mount Vernon-Mahopac basketball game shows a one-sided presentation of the facts. A handful of bad actors on both sides were wrong. Mount Vernon must also be held responsible, for sadly, they too exhibited horrific behavior towards students, cheerleaders and athletes."
"Two wrongs never make a right, yet unlike Mount Vernon, Mahopac immediately took the accusations seriously and the district has used their appropriate authority to hold the individuals involved accountable. Mahopac conducted an immediate investigation, justly and proactively suspending eight students.
"In Mount Vernon no action has been taken by the district to hold bad actors accountable, in Mahopac the system is working and the ongoing investigation will be successful in holding all responsible accountable for their inappropriate behavior.
"Like Mount Vernon, Mahopac is a strong, faithful and loving community. Leaders in both communities must now take decisive, professional action during these trying times."