In the said video, the athletes on River Valley High School’s football team were reportedly seen staging what appeared to be a “slave auction” of their Black teammates. The video in question was sent to school district officials on Thursday.
Doreen Osumi, who is the Yuba City Unified School District Superintendent, labeled the footage as “unacceptable” and “deeply offensive” in a statement to the news outlet. She said the students who participated in the “unfortunate and extremely distressing incident” had been prohibited from featuring in football games for the remainder of the season. She said the decision was taken after it was established that their actions contravened the student-athlete code of conduct.
Osumi said the aforementioned decision means that the school’s football team currently doesn’t have sufficient players on its roster – hence the cancellation of the rest of the 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,” Osumi said. “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.”
The superintendent also said that disciplinary action may be taken against some of the students, adding that the school will initiate “education, honest, open discussions and instruction” on racism, per CNN.
“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,” Osumi continued. “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.”