Buffalo and Ken-Ton School Districts respond to decision to postpone football games due to possible social media threat

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Both Kenmore-Tonawanda School District and Buffalo Public Schools are responding to the postponement of a JV and Varsity football game between McKinley High School and Kenmore West High School originally scheduled for last Friday and Saturday.

Administrators from Kenmore West and the school district say they were made aware of several online reports of potential violence at the game on Friday afternoon.

Officials tell News 4 this caused widespread alarm among many district parents.

Town of Tonawanda police, along with school administrators, began investigating.

At 3 p.m. Friday, Athletic Director Brett Banker and BPS acting Athletic Director Ryan Shepard discussed reports and decided the scheduled games should be postponed and rescheduled due to the seriousness of the threats and little time to investigate the reports.

Ken-Ton officials say the Section VI Football Chairperson knew of the mutual decision to postpone the game by both athletic directors.

Administrators with Ken-Ton also say there have been multiple attempts to contact 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,” A spokesperson for Ken-Ton said. Ken-Ton School District: High school football games postponed due to concern for potential violence

Section VI asked BPS Athletics to reschedule the games, and Ken-Ton hopes to reschedule as soon as possible and not impact other WNY school districts.

BPS says they forfeited the games on their end based on an alleged social media threat. Officials say that Ken-Ton did not, and have not shared the details of this possible threat with the Buffalo City School District.

“We care about all students and families and will always be proactive in working with our education partners. However, the irresponsible lack of communication and transparency by Kenmore is troubling as it kept our student-athletes, coaches, families, and entire school community unaware of the nature of the alleged threat thereby potentially exposing them to a risk serious enough to unilaterally forfeit games on Friday and Saturday,” a spokesperson for BPS said.

According to the city school district, Ken-Ton would like to reschedule the games and not release details of the alleged threat. They feel this doesn’t establish a resolution to the possible threat.

The Buffalo City School District intends to pursue the matter by the Section VI “Proposed Cancellation Policy of Varsity Football Games” to make sure the forfeit by Kenmore West is enforced.

BPS says, “It is critical that the proper procedures provided by Section VI and the mutual agreement of the parties in regard to cancellations be followed by all participating districts and that accountability be attributed to its proper place when these procedures are not followed.”

Ken-Ton officials say the BPS decision to “unilaterally forfeit” the games 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,” Ken-Ton administrators said.

The Ken-Ton School District tells News 4 they stand by the cooperative decision that was made on Friday to ensure safety for both schools.

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