East Central player endures racial taunts at basketball tournament; schools say they’re investigating

Monkey noises could be heard coming from the stands while the player was at the free throw line.

MARBLE FALLS, Texas — The East Central girls basketball team said one of its players endured a racially charged situation at a basketball tournament in Marble Falls on Friday.

The team posted on Twitter about what happened, saying that their athletes, coaching staff and parents were all hurt by what happened during the game.

“One of our athletes had to go through a racial situation that was very hurtful and unacceptable,” the team said through its Twitter account. “Our athletes, coaching staff & parents are not ok with what happened.”

The incident began when East Central senior Asia Prudhomme stepped up to the free throw line early in the game. People could be heard in the stands making what sounded like “monkey noises” as she was trying to shoot.

Prudhomme posted a video on Twitter to document the moment:

“This is sad, heartbreaking and uncalled for,” she said in the post. “Can’t even play basketball without ignorance and racism in the stands. This really broke my heart, my coaches and teammates.”

“We appreciate the athletic office and administration from both schools who are working to handle this situation,” the team said via Twitter.

East Central ISD’s athletic director also said the incident had been addressed with the other school.

“ECISD Athletics and Administration stands behind our Athletes and we are working with the administration from the other school and have been assured that they will take all steps necessary to resolve this issue,” said Suzette Arriola, ECISD Athletic Director.

The team’s coach supported her players following the incident.

“This situation was hard,” head coach Vanessa Villarreal explained on Twitter. “Speaking to my girls about this was hard. Our weekend was not ruined by this. Our kids grew & I wish I could show what our girls did on the bus once we discussed it. Our girls are amazing people who love each other so much! I love them for that!”

KENS 5 reached out to Marble Falls ISD about the incident. They first told us the following:

Marble Falls School District has an unyielding commitment to love every child and inspire them to achieve their fullest potential, and this applies to children outside of our school district as well. We will continue to work with administration at East Central High to fully investigate and hold students accountable for their actions. 

Marble Falls ISD does not condone any form of discrimination, and we would like students at East Central to know they have our full support.

And then they sent us the statement given to parents and administration from East Central High School. It details that school administrators are reviewing the footage and will reportedly interview students who attended the game. It says students will be held accountable “for any behaviors that violate our expectations.”

Read the statement below:

Marble Falls High School administration is investigating allegations that one or more students made insensitive comments or noises during a recent basketball tournament. Marble Falls ISD has established high expectations for our students and specifically addresses discriminatory behavior in our Student Code of Conduct:  

Because all people have purpose, immeasurable value, and have been made bearing an indescribably special image, this SCC treats discrimination with particular emphasis. 

Students shall not use any discriminatory language or engage in communications that contain discriminatory messages, images, or conveyance. Discrimination is defined as any conduct directed at a person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law that negatively affects the person to whom the discrimination is directed. Additionally, engagement in this behavior could affect other students, directly or indirectly. Engaging in discriminatory behaviors may be treated as serious misconduct (Student Code of Conduct, p. 6).

School administrators are reviewing video footage and will interview students and patrons who attended the game to ensure a thorough investigation. Marble Falls High School takes these allegations seriously and will hold students accountable for any behaviors that violate our expectations.   

As campus principal, I regret that any player or guest in attendance at our tournament experienced anything from our student body that made them feel uncomfortable or devalued. I am saddened that the behaviors of a very small number of students could tarnish the impression that others have of the incredible group of kids who make up our student body. 

Federal laws prevent me from sharing specific information about individual students and disciplinary consequences. Still, I hope that by sharing this information about the emphasis that our district places on how we treat others, I can offer some assurance that we will take all steps necessary to hold students accountable and continue to foster a caring and inclusive culture at Marble Falls High School.

Sincerely,

Damon Adams, Ed.D.. Principal, Marble Falls High School

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