Allegations of racist remarks made during a basketball game by Connell (Wash.) High School students are under investigation by the North Franklin School District, according to a news release issued Monday.
As reported by yaktrinews.com, the school district’s release indicates the incident took place toward the conclusion of a girl’s basketball game Saturday against visiting Zillah High School. The North Franklin athletic director was made privy to inappropriate remarks and gestures of a racist nature made by Connell students watching from the bleachers toward two individuals of color on the Zillah team.
That evening, the North Franklin athletic director passed the information along to district superintendent Jim Jacobs and the school board. This prompted the superintendent to assign the school district’s high school administrative team to launch an investigation. The school district began its investigation Monday by interviewing students linked to the incident. NFSD will ultimately decide pre-established policies and procedures warrant disciplinary action.
“Any show of racism is inexcusable and will not be tolerated in our district,” Jacobs stated. “We take these allegations seriously and, while we are unable to share disciplinary details due to privacy laws, we will assure appropriate consequences are administered.”
By Tuesday, video had emerged in which students can be heard to shout "Brick it, monkey" as the Zillah students of color, who are sisters, attempted shots. They also are accused of making monkey sounds and gestures.
As reported by an NBC television affiliate in Kennewick, the video appears to show the NFSD athletic director failing to address the students in the bleachers, but Jacobs insists a confrontation with the alleged perpetrators took place. "The athletic director directed the students to stop the behavior and then put himself in a position near the students to monitor their behavior," Jacobs said.
Meanwhile, Zillah School District superintendent Doug Burge told the TV station, "In Zillah School District, we value diversity and strive to create schools and environments that are both physically safe and emotionally nurturing for our students. We take these allegations very seriously and are committed to aiding in Connell School District's investigation to the best of our abilities."
One student reached claimed there was no racist intent behind the remarks and gestures, and that they stopped once confronted. "So we understood and went to apologize to the coach and got attacked by parents saying we just apologized because we got caught, but we truly didn't mean it to be racist at all," the student, whose anonymity was protected by TV station, said. "Some of us didn't know it was a racist term."