The principals at Valley Center High School and Topeka High School issued a joint statement on Friday morning, sharing the results of their “thorough investigations” and follow up actions after an ugly display of racism from some fans at a Saturday, Dec. 3 basketball game when the two schools played at Valley Center.
“Administrators from both schools thoroughly investigated reports following the game that included reviewing game footage and collecting statements and the information was shared between the two schools,” the statement reads. “After conducting the investigations, several students at Valley Center have received consequences for their behavior. Federal law prohibits the sharing of specific details regarding those consequences.”
The Topeka coach, George “Geo” Lyons had expressed outrage at what he described as racist taunts and threats against and started a petition on change.org calling for banning Valley Center fans from future sports events.
A Topeka player posted a video on Facebook that showed Valley Center fans passing around a naked, Black baby doll and chanting “He’s a pussy!” as a Topeka player took a free throw shot. Lyons later said that the player on the line when that occurred was his son.
“I couldn’t protect my players or even my own child,” he said in the petition. As of Friday afternoon, the petition had almost 11,000 signatures.
Some information factual, some not
The joint statement expressed concern about the aftermath of the reports.
“Both schools acknowledge that although some information that began circulating following the game was factual, there have been numerous reports that are exaggerated and/or inaccurate,” it reads. “This has led to responses from both communities that have become inflamed and disappointing. This is not appropriate, does not provide for a productive environment where true change can occur, and is currently being addressed by the schools and communities appropriately.
“Valley Center and Topeka High Schools are committed to work together to repair the harm that has been done, and to take actions both separately and together that will lead to positive and productive change with regards to addressing sportsmanship and racism.
“We truly believe that this incident can be used by both schools and communities, to provide an opportunity for education, growth and partnership.”
The statement was signed by Rebecca Morrisey, Principal at Topeka High and Bruce Lolling, the Valley Center Principal.
The statement also repeated an earlier apology that was sent to administrators in Topeka.
“Valley Center High School and Topeka High School would like to recognize the student athletes for the manner in which they handled themselves during and immediately following the game given the circumstances,” the statement reads. “Additionally, Valley Center High School would like to, as previously stated, apologize for the students in the student fan section who acted inappropriately.”