EL DORADO HILLS — The student who heckled black and Latino soccer players during a high school championship game in Northern California with racist taunts has been identified and is being held accountable, officials said. school.
The student made monkey noises and gestures as a black girl from Buchanan High School in Clovis prepared to take a penalty kick during Saturday’s Northern California Women’s Division I soccer game against Oak Ridge High School of El Dorado Hills. Before that, the student barked at a Latina soccer player during her penalty, Buchanan’s coach Jasara Gillette said in a Facebook post.
“When a quiet stadium is suddenly filled with the sounds of gorillas towards an African-American student, I don’t know if you become more overtly racist,” Gillette told The Sacramento Bee. “It changed the atmosphere of everything. My players after that moment were visibly emotional. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Aaron Palm, principal of Oak Ridge High School, said in a message to parents on Monday that the student responsible for the heckling was identified after the game and held responsible, KCRA-TV reported.
Palm’s post also said the high school win about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Sacramento seemed “hollow.”
He said the team’s goalie apologized to the African-American player at the time and the entire team apologized to Buchanan’s team after the game.
“Our girls played a great game and showed the best possible sportsmanship. They should not be related to crowd noise in any way,” the post reads.
Palm did not specify what disciplinary action the student faces. His office directed questions to the El Dorado Union High School district. A message Tuesday for the supervised district did not receive an immediate response.
But in a statement on Monday, district officials said “the school will take all disciplinary action permitted by the education code.”
Oak Ridge High School, whose student body is 67% white, has made headlines in the past for harassing students of color, the Bee reported.
In 2016, during a women’s playoff basketball game against McClatchy High School, racist and shameful taunts were directed at McClatchy’s Asian American players.
Palm, who was also the principal of Oak Ridge at the time, released a statement outlining the actions taken in response to the basketball game and saying “the school does not support bigotry or racism on campus.”