Oak Ridge High School officials are responding to an allegation that racial slurs were directed toward opposing players during a girls' basketball game at their school.
Glen Kumamoto, whose daughter plays on the McClatchy High School basketball team, said Oak Ridge fans used racial slurs during a game between the two teams Feb. 25 at Oak Ridge, which is located in El Dorado Hills.
"I started to hear some chants targeted towards our minority players, ’soy sauce’ and ‘go back to Fiji,’ and heard references to small eyes," said Kumamoto, who posted video of the game Tuesday on Facebook. "And we do have a lot of Asian-American players on our teams.”
In a public letter released Thursday, Oak Ridge Interim Principal Aaron Palm said a school investigation was not able to identify the source of the comments. Palm added that the audio quality in Kumamoto's video was too poor to provide leads in the investigation.
McClatchy junior Sara Shimizu, who plays on the team, said she was shocked by the comments made by Oak Ridge fans.
“I was in disbelief. I’ve never had racial slurs screamed at me before," she said. "I didn’t know how to take it.”
Jessica Kunisaki, McClatchy's women's basketball head coach, added that this doesn't take away from the successful season her team has had and that aside from the inappropriate comments, it was a great game.
"Unfortunately a group of students can misrepresent their school," she said. "[The Oak Ridge] basketball program is very well respected. They play with a lot of class."
"Oak Ridge High School wants to emphasize that we do not support intolerance or racism on our campus," Palm wrote in his letter. "We do not and have not ever stood for this."
The game was contentious, and Oak Ridge officials received reports that other derogatory comments were directed at McClatchy players.
"During the game a portion of our student body was chanting the terms 'ugly' and 'cankles' to the opposing players," Palm wrote. "The day after the event Oak Ridge administration received an email indicating that a McClatchy parent was upset by the comments made above. The Oak Ridge administration discussed the matter with the McClatchy administration and apologized for the behavior, including a direct a communication to the reporting parent.
"Late in the game a member of our student section left the seating area and stood over a fallen McClatchy player. Our supervising faculty immediately ejected the student from the game and disciplinary action followed the next day," Palm wrote.
Palm's letter included an invitation for McClatchy student leaders to meet with Oak Ridge student leaders.
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