Mom calls for accountability after monkey sounds made by black and Hispanic volleyball players


Lakeesha Adams was planning an intense volleyball game between her daughter’s junior varsity team, the Paetow High Panthers, and their rivals, the Jordan High Warriors – but she didn’t think it would resort to alleged racist taunts.

“It was clearly audible that it was monkey noises,” Adams told ABC News, also providing videos from Friday’s game where she says the monkey noises are clearly audible.

The junior varsity volleyball team at Patricia E. Paetow High School in Texas is made up mostly of black and Hispanic girls, while the majority of Jordan High School’s team is white, Adams said.

Adams alleged that once teams changed sides on the field, the environment began to change. “At that point, they start yelling at our girls and calling them names and saying things. So I’m like, hey, they’re not supposed to talk to our girls. It’s against, you know , school rules, you’re not supposed to, you know, bully the players.”

Volleyball players are pictured in an undated image.

STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images/EyeEm

“They decided, once our girls started serving, to make some monkey sounds,” Adams said.

The game went by without anyone addressing the situation, Adams said. As soon as the game was over, she said she immediately went home and emailed the athletic director at Jordan High School.

When asked for comment, the Katy Independent School District referred ABC News to the letter it sent to parents to address the situation. Both high schools are part of Katy ISD.

The district said it had launched an investigation into the incident, which it said “involved inappropriate behavior exhibited by those present at the game.”

“An investigation has identified some students with behaviors that are inconsistent with District and UIL recommendations [University Interscholastic League’s] expectations of sporting conduct at a sporting event,” the letter read. “Any student behavior found to be in violation of the Discipline Management Plan and Student Code of Conduct will face disciplinary consequences. Again, the safety of all Katy ISD students is our district’s top priority.”

“Students, staff and the community play an important role in keeping our school safe by reporting potential safety issues,” the district added. “We would like to thank those who came forward to report the concern to school and district personnel. Thank you for your patience and understanding as the incident is investigated.”

Adams said the letter does not directly state what she believes happened at the game.

“They don’t really say what happened, they just say the incident and they don’t allow it, and they [some students] broke some rules but it’s never made clear,” she told ABC News.

To raise awareness of the issue and not advance this type of behavior, Adams said she wants to come up with a plan of action that includes “providing more education and awareness regarding the issues that have arisen.”

Additionally, Adams said she was seeking a statement from the district that it is committed to discouraging “racially insensitive gestures, conflicts, or actions targeting any race, religion, or ethnicity.”

She said she would also “seek confirmation of the appropriate corrective actions that have been taken by all parties involved. I want everyone involved to be able to show us and let us know, hey, we’re dealing with it. We’re not not just, you know, telling you it’s lip service, we specifically want to say that we don’t condone this type of activity on any of our campuses.

Adams said her daughter told her she felt “totally humiliated and unprotected.” As a parent, Adams said she wanted to protect her daughter and her teammates and stop the game.

“I want to see the referees or someone do something. I want to see the security,” she said. “Your administration goes out there and stops them. I know you can’t physically control what comes out of someone’s mouth, but you can fix it and you can stop it if you can’t. escort. I wanted to do all that. But unfortunately, it’s not my field. It’s not my school.

Adams said her daughter was upset and still wanted to play, and needed to feel safe, along with her teammates. Adams said when traveling to visit new schools, Katy ISD must ensure these rules are implemented for the safety of all athletes.

Paetow won his volleyball match against the Jordan High Warriors on Friday.

ABC News

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