MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — A Central Texas school district where students were heard shouting monkey noises at Black basketball players addressed different racial discrimination allegations on its campus months earlier, according to school board records.
Marble Falls Independent School District officials said Monday they are investigating allegations their students made insensitive comments and noises at Black East Central Lady Hornets players during the Hill County Classic Basketball Tournament over the weekend.
The Marble Falls High School principal said the district was also reviewing video footage and interviewing students who attended the game.
The video of the game shows senior East Central player Asia Prudhomme taking a shot at the free throw line as loud monkey noises came from the stands.
“Once our team found out about it, they immediately stood up, and they hugged Asia on the bus. It was a very sweet moment, but it’s hard to watch it happen,” Lady Hornets Coach Vanessa Villarreal said.
Prudhomme, 18, said she was still in shock over the incident but said she was focused on finishing her senior year and playing ball in college.
Records show the previous school year, Marble Falls ISD had to address parent concerns of racial discrimination on campus brought up at a January school board meeting, including the alleged use of the n-word toward students of color.
The district held a special meeting in February to discuss “acts of discrimination of the Marble Falls ISD community and how to address this form of unacceptable behavior,” school board records show.
“We have some students who used terms ignorantly, and we are going to have to outline what those terms are and that they can’t use them,” Superintendent Chris Allen said during the February meeting updating the school board.
Allen said in a statement to KXAN in the spring the district added “strong anti-discrimination language” into its student code of conduct, outlined potential consequences and added anonymous reporting mechanisms for students to report inappropriate behavior.
“The action of the involved student(s) is embarrassing to our community for how poorly it reflects the true character of its 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 does highlight how broken the world we all live in can be, especially when we do not consider how our actions impact those around us.”
The University Interscholastic League did not answer our request for an interview, but a spokesperson for East Central ISD said the league plans to follow up with Marble Falls ISD leaders to see how the incident is handled.