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Hays High School volleyball team speaks up about alleged racist incident

The team says players were subjected to persistent racial slurs during a match at Canyon High School in New Braunfels.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — The Hays High School volleyball team is speaking out after several players allegedly faced racist taunting during a match at Canyon High School in New Braunfels last week.

KVUE's sister station KENS 5 initially reported that a mother said students in the front row of the student section shouted the N-word at players from Hays High School throughout the game, and when coaches alerted Canyon administrators of the situation, "all they told the boys was 'watch your mouths.'" The mother said no one was ejected from the game, and the taunting continued even as the players were leaving the gym.

Comal ISD, of which Canyon High School is a part of, later released a statement that the school was investigating the incident and apologized for "any inappropriate comments that may have been made." The district also said that no one was ejected from the game because the students who allegedly said the racist slurs were not "positively identified by any of the players, coaches, referees, students or adults in attendance."

RELATED: Volleyball players subjected to racial slurs during match at Canyon High School, mother alleges

Now, members of the Hays High School team are speaking for themselves about the incident.

The team said in a statement Tuesday that during the match, there were multiple students from the student section using "hateful and racial slurs" toward many players. The team said it is unacceptable that the students "felt comfortable enough to degrade and berate our players" with such language.

The team also said it does not believe the official response to the situation was enough.

"It is unfortunate that our voices and concerns were not fully trusted, heard and respected because adults did not hear the comments – only student-athletes heard. If the students involved could not be identified at that moment, the entire student section should have been removed," the team said.

The team also noted that it does not believe the Canyon volleyball team is at fault in this situation, nor that it is a reflection of their program, but the students in the student section represent the school and the team believes Canyon administration did not adequately address the situation.

"Along with the outpouring of support, many people in and outside the community have come forward with similar experiences of racism happening at their schools and at events they were attending," the team said. "We hope this encourages change and starts conversations that need to happen not only at Comal ISD, but everywhere."

The team said the incident should not be reduced to "kids being kids" and was instead an "example of blatant racism." 

"Anyone who sat by or sits by and allows it to happen is equally as responsible as the students that used the inappropriate language to begin with," the team said. "If you do not stand against racism, you stand with it."

Hays CISD Stands with Hays High School Volleyball Dear Hays CISD Family, We are proud of our Hays High School...

Posted by Hays CISD on Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Shortly after the Hays volleyball team posted their statement, Hays CISD posted a statement of its own in support. 

"We are proud of our Hays High School volleyball athletes for their brave action in confronting hate and for their maturity in handling a situation to which no student should ever be subjected," Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright said in part. "The experience left our Hawks volleyball players distraught, but they have chosen to be strong together, as a team."

Wright said that Hays CISD district athletics personnel and team leadership have formally reported the matter to Comal ISD, and the Comal ISD superintendent also reached out to Wright directly. Wright said Comal ISD assured Hays CISD that it is taking the matter seriously.

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