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Parents upset after announcer refers to COVID-19 as 'Chinese Virus' at football game

They said he asked fans to wear masks to prevent the spread of the “Chinese Virus” in reference to COVID-19.

JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. — Some high school parents in Jackson County are upset over what they call “racist” comments from a football announcer at a game.

It was at a football game in Jefferson where parents of students at Jackson County Comprehensive High School said the game announcer caught them off guard.

They said he asked fans to wear masks to prevent the spread of the “Chinese Virus” in reference to COVID-19.

“It’s not OK for an announcement like that to be made over the loud speaker and we can do better as a school,” said Susan Martin, a parent who was at the game last Friday night.

Martin said while some parents laughed, she didn’t find it funny at all. So, she sent a complaint to the superintendent.

“I saw families that I knew that were Asian just literally hold their heads down and looked towards the ground and I knew exactly what they were thinking,” said Martin.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia | Latest numbers for Thursday, Sept. 24

One of those parents Martin talked to said her son is on the football team. She said she didn’t want to be identified to protect her son, but sent this text message to 11Alive:

“I couldn’t help but feel like there was a target on my back. for what? Because I’m Asian, my son and daughter are Asian. Like I’m to blame for this virus? This behavior just condones hate crimes like its ok.”

Jackson County schools Superintendent Dr. April Howard said the district and school have addressed the situation with the volunteer announcer and added that "the announcer is a community volunteer who immediately recognized and apologized for the lapse in judgement."

"He has also been addressed by the school administration and athletic director since Friday evening. Jackson County Comprehensive High School prides itself on providing a very inclusive environment. The unfortunate use of that term in no way represents the feeling or climate of the school or school district," Howard said.

“I don’t believe that everybody at Jackson County feels that way. I believe it was an off the cuff remark that does not represent our school,” said Martin.

According to the United States Census, Jackson County’s population is only two percent Asian. Martin wants all families to feel accepted.

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