YUBA CITY, Calif. (KTXL) — Members of a Yuba City high school acted out a slave auction, the superintendent of the Yuba City Unified School District said.
Superintendent Doreen Osumi said the district received a video Thursday of the River Valley High School football team members acting out a slave action.
The superintendent said it was a “reprehensible act” and that the football team has forfeited this week’s game. The players involved will also not be playing the rest of the season, and as a result, the varsity team’s season is over due to a lack of players.
Following discussions with the students who were involved in the unfortunate and extremely distressing incident at River Valley High School, I can confirm that those who participated will not be playing the rest of the season. They violated our student athlete code of conduct which they all signed and committed to follow, and that will not be ignored or minimized. As a result, we do not have the necessary number of players to safely field the varsity team and must thus forfeit the remainder of the season. The junior varsity team will continue with their season and sophomores and juniors from the varsity team can join the junior varsity team to finish their season.
Re-enacting a slave sale as a prank tells us that we have a great deal of work to do with our students so they can distinguish between intent and impact. They may have thought this skit was funny, but it is not; it is unacceptable and requires us to look honestly and deeply at issues of systemic racism. We know that corrective action may be required in accordance with policy, but it is education, honest, open discussions and instruction that will guide our students to realize that their choices and actions have consequences.
At this time, the District and site administration are working in earnest to identify lessons and programs to help our student body learn from this situation. When students find humor in something that is so deeply offensive, it tells me that we have an opportunity to help them expand their mindset to be more aware, thoughtful and considerate of others.
Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent Doreen Osumi
The commissioner for the Sac-Joaquin Section of the California Interscholastic Federation also released a statement calling the incident “unfortunate.”
Last night we were notified by a representative from the Yuba City Unified School District of situation involving the RVHS football program; this is truly an unfortunate incident and the CIF-SJS is providing whatever support RVHS/YCUSD needs.California Interscholastic Federation Sac-Joaquin Section commisioner Michael S. Garrison