This basketball game had enough drama on its own. Friday night’s contest between Flower Mound High School and Plano East went into three overtimes.
But what made social media circles over the weekend happened just beyond the confines of the court. A picture was tweeted out showing a sign being held up Flower Mound’s student section that read “WHITE POWER.”
This is ridiculous I thought we passed the racial stage of society. pic.twitter.com/xonnf18mUy
— Devin Gifford (@dgiff_) February 14, 2015
An athlete with Plano East who was at the game spoke with News 8, but asked that we not share his picture or name.
“We thought it was racist. It said “white power,” and we were shocked,” the student said.
Deanna Thompson, a Plano East parent, also saw the photo it on social media. “It’s just so sad that kids have to take it to that level,” she said.
Witnesses said the incident happened late in the game. Both student sections were hyped up as the scoring lead switched several times.
But the Plano East athlete remembers a specific moment when it got very raucous in the gym.
“Our student section started pointing at the sign. That’s when it clicked into everyone’s mind… ‘Whoa… what are these guys doing?’ And the teachers came and took the signs down,” the athlete said.
The student who spoke with us said the signs were held up for 30 seconds. Students described teachers rushing to take the signs down. They also said the sign that read “WHITE” obviously referred to the team’s colors. But many did not believe the “POWER” sign fit in to any school cheers.
Witnesses told News 8 that racial slurs were also directed at players during the game, especially after a player had been injured.
Sources close to the Plano East team tell News 8 that someone defecated and urinated on Plano’s team bus. As of late Monday, neither district was able to confirm that that occurred.
“To me that’s criminal… it’s criminal, and it’s just sick,” Deanna Thompson said, adding: “This was not a mistake.”
She feels the students involved should face consequences. “It’s 2015!” Thompson said.
Flower Mound’s coach, Eric Littleton, responded on Twitter to the image of the sign: “Unacceptable. As head coach at FMHS I offer our full voice apology. I will pursue this fully. No place for this.”
— Eric Littleton (@CoachLittleton) February 14, 2015
Lewisville School District’s Interim Superintendent Dr. Kevin Rogers released the following statement on Tuesday:
“As Interim Superintendent of a very diverse school district and community, I have been involved with our internal investigation regarding the unfortunate occurrence at Friday night’s Flower Mound High School vs. Plano East varsity boys’ basketball game. I want to be clear that this type of incident – however it has been perceived – has not and will not be tolerated in LISD. We have always had high expectations for our more than 53,000 students and hold them to those standards both in and outside of the classroom.
As we stated yesterday, the investigation of this occurrence is still underway, and we fully intend to act on our findings. We regret that this unfortunate event has been elevated to this level on so many social media circles.
I am disheartened that the perceived actions of a few may reflect poorly on two great schools – Flower Mound and Plano East High Schools – school districts and communities. Ultimately, please know we have the highest respect for the students, staff and community of Plano East High School.”