Zillah student-athletes of color called ‘monkey’ at Connell basketball game

The incident, which took place on Saturday, May 22, has sparked outrage across the region.

CONNELL, Wash. — Video footage from a girl’s basketball game in Eastern Washington shows Connell High School students directing racist comments and gestures toward students of color from Zillah High School.

The video was published on social media Monday afternoon. In it, people in the Connell stands can be heard referring to students of color as monkeys. Fans on the home side can be heard yelling “Brick it, monkey” and “don’t think about it, monkey” while Zillah students were attempting free throws. One male is observed making monkey sounds and gestures from the bleachers.

In the video, Zillah High School’s head coach can be seen pointing out the racist remarks to Connell Athletic Director Stephen Pyeatt.

The North Franklin School District (NFSD) Athletic Director was informed of the remarks toward the end of the game on Saturday. That evening, the NFSD school board and Superintendent Jim Jacobs found out about the incident, leading the superintendent to authorize an investigation.

The Superintendent’s Office has said officials expect the investigation will conclude on Wednesday and punishments will be determined.

“Any show of racism is inexcusable and will not be tolerated in our district,” Jacobs said. “We take these allegations seriously and, while we are unable to share disciplinary details due to privacy laws, we will assure appropriate consequences are administered.”

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KAPP-KVEW reached out to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) for comment. They offered the following statement in response to the incident:

“The WIAA takes any unsportsmanlike issues seriously, especially those involving racist remarks. The standard protocol in these situations is to allow each school to investigate further and apply appropriate consequences. We can confirm that both schools are looking into this matter and will share information when they have it.”

A third party will conduct a follow-up investigation after the North Franklin School District completes its own internal investigation.

Meanwhile, Zillah High School has issued the following statement:

“As a district, it is our priority to support the students and families of those involved and to ensure that our schools and classrooms are places where students know that they are valued, respected and accepted each and every day. Our high school administrative team and counseling staff are available to support students who have been negatively impacted by these recent events.”

As a result of the incident, Connell High School will not allow its students to attend sporting events until further notice.

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