• Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Texas ISD, where students made monkey noises at black players, previously had to deal with racism

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — A central Texas school district where students heard monkey noises at black basketball players on its campus months earlier, according to school board records months earlier, addressed various allegations of racial discrimination.

Marble Falls Independent School District officials said Monday they are investigating allegations that their students made insensitive comments and noises towards Black East Central Lady Hornets players during the Hill County Classic Basketball Tournament over the weekend.

The principal of Marble Falls High School said the district is also reviewing video footage and interviewing students who participated in the game.

Video of the game shows senior East Central player Asia Prudhomme firing at the free-throw line when loud monkey noises came from the stands.

“When our team found out about this, they immediately stood up and hugged Asia on the bus. It was a very sweet moment but it’s hard to see how it happens,” said Lady Hornet coach Vanessa Villarreal.

Prudhomme, 18, said she was still shocked by the incident but said she was focused on finishing her senior year – and playing ball at college.

Records show that last school year, Marble Falls ISD had to address parent concerns about racial discrimination on campus raised at a school board meeting in January 2022, including the alleged use of the N-word towards black students.

The district held a special meeting in February to discuss “discriminatory acts by the Marble Falls ISD community and how to address this form of unacceptable behavior,” school board records show.

“We have some students who have been using terms unknowingly and we need to explain what those terms are and how they can’t use them,” Superintendent Chris Allen said during the February 2022 meeting where the school board was updated.

Superintendent Chris Allen said in a statement to KXAN earlier in the year that the county added “strong anti-discrimination language” to its student code of conduct, outlined possible consequences and added anonymous reporting mechanisms for students to report inappropriate behavior.

“The action of the students involved is embarrassing to our community because it so poorly reflects the true character of their people,” Allen said in a statement to KXAN on Wednesday.

In a statement to KXAN, Marble Falls ISD Board President Kevin Naumann said in part: “One incident does not define who we are as a community. I think it shows how broken the world we all live in can be, especially when we don’t consider how our actions affect those around us.”

The University Interscholastic League did not respond to our request for an interview, but a spokesman for East Central ISD said the league plans to contact Marble Falls ISD executives to see how the incident is being handled.