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Official Statement Regarding Kenmore West vs McKinley Football Game That Was Cancelled Last Friday

The following is the official statement from Ken-Ton School District that was sent to media members on Monday afternoon:

On Friday afternoon, Kenmore West High School and Ken-Ton School District administrators were made aware of several online reports regarding the potential for violence at the Kenmore West High School/McKinley High School varsity football game scheduled for later that day. These reports are being investigated by the Town of Tonawanda Police Department in conjunction with school/district administrators and caused widespread alarm among many Ken-Ton School District parents. At approximately 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Ken-Ton School District Athletics Director Brett Banker and Buffalo Public Schools Acting Athletics Director Ryan Shepard discussed the reports and agreed that the scheduled varsity and JV games should be postponed and rescheduled due to the seriousness of the threats and the little time left to investigate the reports. Section VI Football Chairperson Ken Stoldt was informed of the mutual decision to postpone the game. At no time did Mr. Shepard indicate that he was not authorized to make that decision. A decision to postpone a game would typically be made by a school district’s athletics director. Ken-Ton administrators have attempted to be in contact with multiple BPS administrators. On Friday, Kenmore West High School administrators were also in contact with the Buffalo Police Department and McKinley High School regarding the threats. In addition to the conversation which took place Friday between the two school districts’ athletics directors, Ken-Ton School District administrators were in contact with BPS administrators during the weekend and today (Monday, Sept. 16) regarding the nature of the threats. Ken-Ton administrators have been working quickly to provide whatever information or documentation would be helpful to any BPS administrators who request it. Earlier today, Section VI asked the BPS Athletics Department to reschedule the games. It is the hope of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda UFSD that these games be rescheduled soon so as not to impact other school districts in Western New York. BPS has asserted that a decision was made to “unilaterally forfeit” the games. This is false. The decision was made by both the BPS Acting Athletic Director, the Ken-Ton School District Athletics Director, and the Section VI Football Chairperson to postpone and reschedule the games. No school district has the ability to postpone a game independently; it requires consultation with both schools and the league. Neither the Ken-Ton School District nor Section VI were ever informed that the BPS Athletics Director lacked the authority to postpone a game, which is a decision typically made by a school district’s Athletics Director. The Ken-Ton School District stands by the cooperative decision that was made on Friday to ensure the safety of all students, staff, coaches, parents, and spectators from both schools. The Ken-Ton School District Athletics Department has strived to earn its longstanding reputation and excellent relationship with Section VI and its partner school districts. The Ken-Ton School District will continue to work closely with all of its partners in the spirit of cooperation and with student safety as its highest priority.
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