A “majority” of accusations of racism against Temecula Valley high school students in recent football games are “unfounded,” said the Temecula Valley school chief.

Superintendent Jodi McClay’s comments came on Tuesday night, September 14, in an update for the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board. The district has investigated allegations that during the Temecula Valley High football matches on August 19 and 20, racial slurs were used by students and players of Temecula Valley High against football players and cheerleaders. cheerleaders from Valley View High School, the visiting team from Moreno Valley. .

On August 27, Valley View High School filed a complaint with the California Interscholastic Federation, citing multiple incidents of “hostile, dangerous, discriminatory and unsportsmanlike” behavior by students at Temecula Valley High School. Students are accused of make monkey noises at the cheerleaders of Valley View and call out the football players of this school of racial epithets.

At Tuesday’s meeting, McClay said the district’s investigation included “over 100” interviews with students and staff and was complete. There is now one CIF exam left.

Temecula Valley School Board President Barbara Brosch, Superintendent Jodi McClay and Board Clerk Sandy Hinkson are seen at the school board meeting on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 (Courtesy photo)

“While the majority of the charges were found to be unfounded – that’s actually 17 of the 21 charges, to be exact – four of them were found to be partially founded,” she said.

McClay was not available Wednesday to discuss his report, Sue O’Connell, executive assistant to the superintendent, said in an email.

On Tuesday, McClay said there were still “frustrations with the lack of access to students and staff at the other school.”

“We weren’t allowed to speak with their coaches, and many student statements we received from this school were from students who were not at the (games) in question.”

McClay acknowledged the public criticism his district received for the time it took to complete its investigation, but “another district received similar criticism for reacting too quickly to almost identical allegations,” he said. she declared.

It was not known on Wednesday which district she was referring to.

When asked to respond to the details of McClay’s report, the Moreno Valley Unified School District released a statement from Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora on Wednesday. He said he and McClay had communicated and that the districts were “working together” on the issue.

CIF Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said by email that his office would not comment as his investigation is not complete.

“Whatever the final results of the investigation, we believe it is essential to remember that students left our campus badly injured, and for that we must act,” said McClay.

Temecula Valley High has since revised procedures during football matches to “make sure these things don’t happen again in the future.”

McClay said changes to all track and field events at Temecula Valley High, especially football games, include:

  • The home team and the visiting team must now sign a document entitled “We commit ourselves” before the matches. It indicates that any allegations will be reported immediately and the game will stop. The allegations will be “investigated and dealt with immediately”.
  • The invited school will have an administrator present at all games to help “ensure good supervision”
  • Increase supervision and monitoring of student behavior
  • Restructuring of fences around the stadium so that home teams, visitors and supporters have separate entrances and exits
  • Build new portable toilets and snack bars for both sides of the football field
  • Read publicly aloud a new CIF statement on fan expectations before, during and after matches
  • Athletic directors will check with referees and school administrators before and during matches “to discuss any potential issues”

McClay also said his district was working with Moreno Valley school officials to “explore opportunities to bring groups of students from both schools together for certain activities.”

Details on such an event were unknown on Wednesday.

Temecula Valley School Board Chairman Barbara Brosch and tthere four other advice members did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Adam Skumawitz, a member of the Temecula Valley School Board, said at Tuesday’s meeting that a lot of time and effort had been put into verifying the charges and ensuring there were quick consequences. But the bar needs to be set higher for zero tolerance behavior, he told McClay.

“When you say that there are students who feel what they felt, then that is unacceptable,” Skumawitz said. “If this was an isolated incident in Temecula, it would be one thing, as if this was the first time this had happened. But we all know that’s not the case. It is something that we cannot ignore or hope to go away.