RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. - Valley View High School’s varsity cheerleading team expected their first game Friday at Temecula Valley High School to be filled with positive team spirit but instead, was met quite the opposite.
As is customary, the visiting cheerleaders went to their opponent's side to watch the halftime performance and support their team.
"We were under the impression that we were going to be cheered on by the other side," said junior Sabria Rose. "We started hearing boos from the bleachers, from all around."
She and her teammate Kharissa Darden say people were also shouting "go away."
"People were staring and turning and snickering to their friends like they haven’t seen a person of my skin color or my teammates' skin color."
After halftime, some of the cheerleaders say they tried to go to the snack bar on Temecula’s side but were met with inappropriate touching and racial slurs.
"A guy has stopped me and said that he liked my hair and proceeded to touch the ends, without permission," Sabria said.
Then, she and her friend started hearing monkey noises made in their direction.
"It was unfair, uncalled for, and unjust because we were there for support," Kharissa said.
Temecula Valley Unified School District responded to the incident:
"TVUSD is aware of allegations regarding the use of racially charged language and racial slurs at a football game on August 20, 2021 at Temecula Valley High School (TVHS). It was reported that this involved comments and behavior towards students of Valley View High School, the visiting school from Moreno Valley Unified School District.
Our school district embraces diversity and strongly condemns hate speech and offensive, hateful language or racial intolerance of any kind on the sports fields, in school buildings or anywhere on or off school premises. We will hold anyone found to have used such language while representing any of our schools accountable for their words and actions.
TVUSD leadership has been working in collaboration with Moreno Valley Unified School District to ensure that we appropriately look into and address this matter. TVHS will investigate any incidents thoroughly and will be taking swift and appropriate action if deemed necessary. The primary responsibilities of schools are to foster an open, respectful and inclusive learning environment for all students, staff, and our community. We recognize that we have work to do in our schools and will continue to strive to promote equity, sportsmanship, respect, and fair play on and off the field.
TVHS will be working diligently to develop a strategy for working with the student body throughout the investigation. We will do the work to come together in fair treatment and take necessary actions to ensure these efforts support inclusion both in the classrooms as well as across our athletic programs. We value each and every student and staff member, and we are committed to doing the work to ensure all are treated in this regard."
Moreno Valley Unified also released a statement:
"August 21, 2021 - The Moreno Valley Unified School District has learned about an incident at a football game last night at Temecula Valley High School. It has been reported that Valley View High School students experienced unfair treatment and unacceptable behavior by attendees from Temecula Valley High School.
We are working closely with the Temecula Valley Unified School District to conduct an investigation regarding this unfortunate incident to ensure this situation is addressed appropriately and in a timely manner.
We care about all our students and we encourage all families and staff to continue to say something if you see something. We are here to support all of our students and staff, and thank those who have submitted reports regarding the situation.
On behalf of the Board of Education, we will continue to work together and maintain focus on embracing and championing our diverse communities and inclusion across all schools and in our society. We want all students to become responsible and respectful citizens.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org."
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