Accusation of racism comes out of RAHS girls basketball banquet

Days after the close of the Roseville Area High School girls basketball team’s most successful season in a decade, the mother of a team member is accusing players and coaches of racism following the team’s March 26 banquet.

In a March 28 Facebook post, LaToya Turk said her daughter, while at the banquet, was shamed and subjected to racist treatment by teammates and her coaches.

Turk said that while two Raiders team members gave out gag gifts during the banquet, including “a microphone to a player that sings a lot, butterfly wings for a player who fell on the floor a lot,” her daughter was given “a piece of hair weave.”

“The white parents, coaches and players were laughing hysterically,” Turk wrote, adding, “My daughter was embarrassed and we got up and left.”

Turk said that other incidents of subtle racism and bullying had happened in the past, including team members hiding her daughter’s gym bag and purposefully giving her the wrong time and place for practices. She also said her daughter and other black players were relegated to the end of the bench during games.

Turk said she met with coach Jeff Crosby in January to discuss her concerns, though she said nothing changed. Crosby did not return a request for comment.

Turk called for those reading her message to contact RAHS administrators, including Principal Christina Hester.

Turk’s post, as of press time, was shared on Facebook more than 600 times. 

After the Roseville Area School District posted a congratulatory message for the girls basketball team on its Facebook page, the comments were dominated by mentions of the alleged racist incident. 

The district deleted the post and put up a new message the afternoon of March 29; when called for comment, Hester responded with a statement nearly identical to the new district post.

“Roseville Area High School (RAHS) and Roseville Area Schools as a whole are fully committed to ensuring an equitable and safe learning environment for all students,” the district said, noting that it was reluctant to delete its previous congratulatory post, but had to do so because student names were used in the comments, in violation of student privacy rules.

The post continued saying the district is investigating the incident.

“We will reiterate that based upon state statute RAHS has procedures in place to address any allegations of racism and/or bullying,” the district said. “An effective investigation into any allegations must honor student privacy, ensure every student and adult involved in an alleged incident has a voice, and ensure the process is thorough and accurate.”

Turk punctuated her own post with a further call to action.

“Our children need to see us challenge racism fiercely and show power and support in numbers,” she wrote. “It doesn’t stop here for me. Thank you!”


 

— Mike Munzenrider

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