What started as a normal high school football ritual has ended in a heated exchange over racism after a black mannequin was lassoed and dragged by a Nevada High school student during a game parade at the school.
The unnamed high schooler was caught on video during Damonte Ranch High School’s homecoming football game’s halftime parade. High schools usually have mascot ‘wars’ during football games and this homecoming game was not an exception.
Dressed as a mustang, the student pulled a black dummy donning a blue outfit which appears to be a Lancer- the mascot of McQueen High School. McQueen is Damonte’s opposing team.
The Washoe County school district has launched an investigation into the incident that occurred on the September 20, News4 reports.
The acting superintendent of the school district, Dr. Kristen McNeill, said, “this incident and the behavior of those responsible is utterly inconsistent with our collective commitment to equity, diversity, responsibility, and kindness for all of our students and staff members.”
“The District is continuing the investigation into how this most unfortunate incident occurred and will take appropriate action to ensure it never happens again,” a statement on the district’s website reads.
A report released on the incident indicates that the class advisors endorsed the initial idea of the students buying the blow-up cowboy and horse and then lasso, another student who would dress up as the Lancer.
However, class advisors were not prompted when plans were altered at the last minute. The students reversed the initial agreement and bought a black mannequin lancer instead of a grey one to complement the blue outfit since blue and grey are the McQueen’s official colours, according to Reno Gazette Journal.
The findings in the report indicate that the students did not go buying a black mannequin; they actually didn’t find a grey dummy on Amazon and bought a black one instead.
On the float, they had intended for the dummy to stand but it couldn’t stay upright, so it “ended up being dragged behind the student,” NY post reports.
The happenings during the half time float were offensive as it could be mistaken as dramatizing the lynching of African Americans in the 1950s. The act was meant to ignite the friendly banter between the two schools and not to hurt any specific group.
“It is troubling that children are so poorly educated that they did not immediately know that the hanging of a black doll is hurtful and frightening,” Lonnie Feemster, president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, said.
Damonte High School officials said, “We would never intentionally try to offend any culture as we represent diverse cultures in our Damonte Ranch High School and community.”