Third Lawrence High student charged in racially bias incident

Scott Jacobs

A third Lawrence High School student has been charged with harassment in connection with the alleged bias incident that occurred at the Lawrence High School football game on Oct. 18.

The name of the 17-year-old male student cannot be released because he is a minor, according to the Lawrence Township Police Department. He is of Indian descent, as are the other two 17-year-old boys who were arrested and charged with harassment and bias intimidation after the incident on Oct. 19.

The Lawrence High School students allegedly taunted four Lawrence Middle School girls who are black, and used the “n-word,” police said.

One of the boys was accused of urinating on one of girl’s leg, but there is no evidence that he did so, police said. A liquid, which may have been water or soda, was tossed in their direction, police said.

The investigation supports allegations that racially derogatory language was used by the 17-year-old boys during the incident, which happened during the third quarter of the football game in the auxiliary overflow bleachers on the Lawrence High School side of the football field.

The Lawrence Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office arrived to those conclusions after reviewing video footage of the incident, and spending hours conducting interviews and taking witnesses’ statements.

Meanwhile, school district officials have taken some measures to attempt to avoid similar incidents from occurring again, Superintendent of Schools Ross Kasun announced.

Lawrence Middle School students are getting their own bleacher at the high school football field, away from the Lawrence High School students’ bleachers. The areas behind the bleachers will be blocked off. It is believed that this is where the incident began.

Lawrence Middle School students will need a parent or another adult to sign them in when they attend a football game to provide a measure of accountability. The new rule does not apply to Lawrence High School students.

Lawrence High School students will not be allowed to bring a backpack or water bottles to the football games. The high school students reportedly squirt water from a bottle when the Lawrence High School football team scores a touchdown.

And while the school district provides security at the football games, more security guards will attend the games and walk around to provide a visible presence. They will monitor the students and their behavior, Kasun said.