COMAL COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Comal ISD has released its findings of an investigation into the alleged use of racial slurs aimed at Hays High School students during a volleyball game at Canyon High School.
The investigation found there wasn’t evidence to prove those claims were true, but three CISD students who were not associated with those claims did use racial slurs aimed at each other. Those students are being disciplined.
Comal ISD’s acting superintendent Mandy Epley posted a letter saying the district was investigating claims that members of the Canyon High student section allegedly made demeaning racial comments to Hays High volleyball team members during a game on Sept. 2.
Hays CISD released a statement Monday:
Because it is Comal ISD’s investigation into its own students, it is their conclusion to make. The Hays CISD inquiry into the matter finds that the Hays High School students are being truthful and have no reason to lie. The district stands by its students and continues to be proud of the Hays High School volleyball team for being brave and calling out hate and racism.Hays CISD statement
Comal ISD’s acting superintendent sent a letter to parents and staff on Sept. 9 detailing the investigation.
The investigation consisted of reviewing video of the game and gathering statements from anyone who could have knowledge of what happened, which were from more than 30 individuals, including the following:
- The school resource officer on duty
- 22 students who were in the student section that evening
- Three parents who were sitting close to the student section
- A line judge on that side of the court
- The administrator on duty
- The CHS cheer coach
- Hays High School coaches
- Students in the locker room hallway after the game
CISD also posted a video of the entire game after reviewing the footage.
CISD asked Hays CISD to help gather statements from its volleyball team. Hays CISD provided statements from two of the seven volleyball players who were on the bench in front of the CHS student section.
According to statements provided by the two players, when a teammate missed the tip at 45:45 in the video, the boys behind the Hays team repeated a chant six times that used a racial slur.
Epley said in the letter the use of the chant cannot be verified as being said in the video.
In the letter, Epley also responds to criticism of how the administrator who was present responded to the incident.
After the incident, Hays High’s volleyball team called out “inaction” from Canyon High and CISD in regards to how they responded to the reports.
In a statement released online, the Hays team said its coaching staff alerted the Canyon High administrator on duty, but the players’ concerns “were not fully trusted, heard, and respected because adults did not hear the comments — only student-athletes heard.”
A Hays High School parent also made a Facebook post about the incident, which Epley’s letter responds to in part. The post is no longer available for public viewing.
The letter said the post alleged the administrator “just told the student section to ‘watch your mouth.'” The Hays head coach’s statement asserts her assistant told the CHS administrator what happened, and she responded, “Oh no, we don’t condone that. I will take care of it.” Epley said in the letter that it can be seen in the video the administrator addresses the students as she apparently said she would.
Epley said students reported the administrator came to them and asked if they heard anyone saying any racial slurs towards the opponent’s bench, to which they answered “no.” She also reminded them the student section should always be positive and cheer for their team, according to Epley’s letter.
The letter said the Facebook post also claimed the Hays team was “accosted” in the hallway and in the Cougar Den after the match.
Epley said after analyzing video from the school cameras, the Hays team does cross paths with a group of basketball players coming from the basketball locker room. According to statements, there was a conversation between two groups of students, but there was no exchange of racial slurs at that time.
In addition, Epley said school camera video and a statement from the school resource officer indicate there was no interaction between the Hays volleyball team and anyone from Canyon High as they left the building that evening.
While the investigation did not find evidence of the claims that were made about the chant, CISD did discover three students — who were not associated with the students accused of making racial chants toward the Hays volleyball team — were having a conversation that involved the use of racial slurs aimed at each other.
Those students have all received disciplinary consequences in accordance with the district’s discipline management plan.