School activities

Oregon School Activities Association faces racist incidents at high school sporting events, says ‘education’ will be main focus

Reports of racist behavior at separate basketball games this winter led the state’s Interscholastic Activities Authority to investigate and place two Oregon high schools on probation.

Clatskanie High School is facing sanctions based on racist and abusive language allegedly directed at the De La Salle North Catholic women’s basketball team during a contest last December. Investigators concluded it was “more likely than not” that the Clatskanie players made racist comments towards the Portland Catholic High School players.

In a separate incident in late January, fans at a game at Molalla High School allegedly wore blackface and mocked visiting Gladstone team fans, including an adult who showed an image of a Confederate flag from his phone. According to Pamplin Media, an investigation into fan behavior at the game concluded that the school breached fair play and crowd control rules.

The Oregon School Activities Association — the statewide interscholastic sports regulator — hired a third-party investigator to investigate the incidents and put both schools on probation. Schools can still compete during their probationary period, but another breach could result in more serious consequences such as suspension from competitions.

Molalla faces several penalties in addition to a one-year probationary period that began in late March – including mandatory training for staff and event management on incident response procedures. OSAA also placed Clatskanie on probation for a year, starting in mid-February. For both schools, the athletic association sanctions require schools to take steps to ensure that future incidents do not occur.

In an interview on OPB’s Think Out Loud, OSAA executive director Peter Weber said the organization is focused on educating young people and school communities — including schools that have been put in probation, like Clatskanie and Molalla.

“There are stages of education and training that go with it – whether it’s with a team, with event management staff, with administrators, coaches, trying again, to make sure we we are focused on education, to prevent this from happening again so that we can provide this the environment that we all seek in an interscholastic activity,” Weber said.

Among the required steps is training students and staff on racial equity and implicit bias, which Weber says can be accomplished using course materials available on the OSAA website. Weber said if the problems persist or worsen, there are more serious penalties.

“Sanctions certainly include…probation, there could be appearances before our board of directors, action plans required, even things like forfeitures or fines, lack of institutional control, up to the suspension of school membership, or even expulsion from the association,” Weber said.

These are not the only allegations made public of racist behavior at school competitions in recent months. The games in La Grande and Camas, Wash., also prompted complaints of racist behavior that interscholastic authorities had to investigate. Weber said he’s not sure if such incidents happen more frequently, or if they attract more attention.

“We are not naive to think that these incidents have never happened in the past and could happen in the future, and it is up to us to do our best to prevent these things and certainly remedy them when they occur. happen,” Weber said. . “We hear more about it, which allows us to respond to it.”