Mom says Texas school district failed to stop racist taunting during volleyball game

Lakeesha Adams said "monkey sounds" targeting her daughter's team stained a Sept. 2 volleyball game between two Katy teams.

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The mother of a high school volleyball player is calling for more to be done after she says supporters of a rival team made monkey sounds at her daughter and other players on a squad made up primarily of Black and Hispanic athletes during a game between the two Katy Independent School District institutions earlier this month.

“We knew something was going to get worse,” Lakeesha Adams said of the mild heckling and harassment that preceded the racist taunting, The Houston Chronicle reported.

According to The Chronicle, before the Sept. 2 incident involving the Paetow High Panthers could get out of hand, Adams and several parents, along with a few coaches, complained to Jordan High Warriors’ administration and security about what they were hearing. However, nothing was done.

Lakeesha Adams is speaking out after she says her daughter and other athletes were subjected to racist taunting from supporters of the opposing team during a Sept. 2 volleyball game. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/KPRC 2)

As expected, she said, the ruckus from the mostly white student section at Jordan High increased, but Paetow parents and players didn’t anticipate them to resort to making monkey sounds.

“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, that can’t be what I’m hearing. Let’s record,'” Adams told The Chronicle. “By then, you can see our girls’ faces. They were looking like, ‘Are you serious right now?’ But they pushed through.”

Adams shared footage of the incident to her Twitter profile, pointing out that while her daughter plays on a team that mostly consists of people of color, there is only one Black player on the squad for Jordan High. She added that the Paetow girls were “distraught and devastated to have to endure such hatred.”

The upset mother has since filed formal complaints with the athletic director at Jordan High School, but has not received a response. She said the only person who had contacted her was Paetow High Principal Mindy Dickerson, who let her know a student culprit had been identified.

Both campus and Katy ISD officials reportedly declined to comment, but a statement from the school district to parents and staff informed them that an investigation had been launched into the incident involving “inappropriate behaviors” displayed by spectators during the Sept. 2 volleyball game. It also expressed thanks for “patience and understanding.”

“An investigation has identified some students engaged in behaviors that are not aligned with the District’s and the UIL’s expectations for sportsmanship conduct during an athletic event,” the statement notes, according to The Chronicle. “Any student’s behavior deemed in violation of the Discipline Management Plan and Student Code of Conduct will face disciplinary consequences.”

Adams maintained in her video clip-containing Twitter thread that the “lack of direct communication to our girls from Katy ISD to check on their mental state after having to endure such heinous actions is disrespectful and concerning.”

The Chronicle reported that she called on district officials to “read the room” after a comparable racially charged incident in which a Brigham Young University women’s volleyball fan taunted Rachel Richardson, a Black Duke player, with racial slurs while she was serving during an Aug. 26 game.

BYU has since released the results of its investigation, which found no evidence to support the claim that fans engaged in racial heckling and uttered racial slurs at Richardson, according to the Associated Press.

The Chronicle reported that Adams said she was not entirely surprised by the district’s response to the Warriors versus Panthers matchup because of instances like the one involving BYU and Duke. She believes the way that incident was handled gave offenders a boost to display such actions at other sporting events.

There was also an incident at Hays High School near San Antonio, where students from Canyon High School reportedly yelled the N-word at a pair of twins during a volleyball game. Adams said on Twitter that it sickened her to wake up and see such news.

“People will wear the girl’s number in support, but nothing is physically done,” Adams said, according to the Chronicle. “It’s the culture of what they’re accustomed to because there’s no repercussions.”

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