A high school in Washington State has been placed on probation for one year and fined $1,000 after its students were accused of shouting racist remarks to two Black basketball players during a game. Additionally, the school’s coaches and administrators must complete a class on diversity before being allowed to participate or attend any playoff events in the future, reports Newsweek.
On May 22, a girls’ basketball game was held at Connell High School against Zillah High School. As two Black sisters on the Zillah team tried to score, Connell students in the bleachers were heard shouting “monkey” multiple times and making monkey sounds.
Brandie Valadez, the coach for Zilla, heard the racist remarks and yelled, “That is very racist. That is racist.” She then notified the Connell athletic director, who directed the students to stop. He also went near the student section of the crowd to monitor the situation.
The following day, North Franklin School District (NFSD) called for a third-party investigation into disciplining the pupils who were involved. “Any show of racism is inexcusable and will not be tolerated in our district,” Jim Jacobs, North Franklin School District Superintendent, said in a statement. “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.”
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and the South Central Athletic Conference (SCAC) met with the school district to discuss harsher punishments, which included the suspension of student-athletes in the student section during games, prohibiting Connell students from attending home and away games for the rest of the season and requiring students to be educated on sportsmanship and race. The SCAC also ruled that Connell’s basketball teams had to end their seasons on June 5.
However, these sanctions were all overturned after Connell High School officials filed an appeal. The appeal was ruled valid because a full ban cannot be placed on people who were not involved in the racist acts.