More than a week after reports of racist chants halted a high school volleyball playoff game, Salt River Schools’ Education Board contemplated the school’s relationship with the Canyon Athletic Association during a Monday meeting.
The board members also praised the Salt River High School volleyball players and named them students of the month.
“The world is not a nice place,” Wi-Bwa Grey, a board member, said. “I know they came out of this stronger.”
The Oct. 22 playoff game between Salt River High School and charter school Caurus Academy of Anthem was stopped after crowd members reportedly heckled Salt River players with racist gestures and slurs. Salt River High School is located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Members of the crowd referred to the players as “savages” when the match became competitive, said one Salt River alumnus who was at the playoff game. Others reported that spectators used an offensive gesture, tapping their hands over their mouths. The two teams finished the game days later.
The board on Monday discussed how the school should move forward with the Canyon Athletic Association, which oversees competition between the two schools and other nontraditional high schools in Arizona. Some members expressed disappointment with the organization’s investigation into the incident.
Relationship with athletic association
Board members decided to send a letter to the Canyon Athletic Association to make sure the organization’s leaders know that the school board is disappointed by the incident.
“We’re not going away,” Superintendent Cynthia Clary said.
Taté Walker, a spokesperson for Salt River Schools, said this isn’t the first time Native athletes have faced racism from spectators.
“This is not something that should ever happen again,” Walker said.
The school is also offering to provide language and culture experts following the incident for any organization interested.