The Sanger High School football team traveled 3 hours north Tuesday to De La Salle High School in the Bay Area town of Concord, ready to play hard in the quarterfinals of the State.
Then the parents were shocked to hear allegedly racist comments against them and their children.
Fans of both teams shared a bleacher, and moments before the match, Sanger’s parent, Chris Martin, was approached by someone working in the press box, representing the opposing team.
He says the conversation made him feel uncomfortable.
“The feeling I always got from him was that he kept referring to the color of the tan, like, ‘Oh, it must be very hot there, everyone I see has a tan, “says Martin.
Once the match started, the intensity was felt on the field and the bleachers.
“Some of them were calling our kids ‘Edgar’ and ‘Juan,’ and ‘Do you need a burrito?'” Martin said.
In the end, Sanger lost 3-4, and as everyone prepared to leave, the man who originally approached Martin and several relatives returned, and they say, shouted racist comments.
“He just screams, ‘This is America. You have to teach English “to one of the fathers who are Latino, dark-skinned and his son, one of the heroes of our team,” says Martin.
The Sanger community was speechless.
Sanger Unified School District released a statement saying it is a vibrant and diverse school district that values every student and has zero tolerance for any action that degrades, dishonours or belittles their great diversity.
De La Salle High School President David Holquin said such remarks would be reprehensible and unacceptable.
“We have spoken with CIF and the principal of Sanger High and with people here as we continue to investigate,” Holquin said.
On Tuesday, the school released a statement regarding the alleged incident:
“De La Salle High School is aware of the comments allegedly made during the De La Salle vs. Sanger High School football game on Tuesday, March 1. The alleged comments are completely inappropriate and do not meet the standards, expectations and to our mission as a Lasallian Catholic school. We take these allegations seriously. Once informed, we immediately launched an investigation into the matter. We have been in contact with the administration of Sanger High School, the Interscholastic Federation of California (CIF) and numerous participants in the football game. After nearly two dozen interviews so far, we are unable to substantiate these allegations, but we will continue to investigate this matter. If anyone affiliated with De La Salle Secondary School makes such comments, they will be held accountable. We do not condone or condone such unacceptable behavior. De La Salle Secondary School remains e committed to being an inclusive place to belong and to authentically living our Core P principles including respecting all people and being an inclusive community. We have done a lot of work in this regard and we will continue to do so.”
Martin and other parents say their trip home on Tuesday night took even longer as they reflected on the hurtful words and experience.
Action News contacted the California Interscholastic Federation office and did not hear back.
This is an ongoing investigation.
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