LPS, Fremont investigate reports of racially insensitive comments at basketball game

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The following is a joint release from Fremont Public Schools and Lincoln Public Schools, following reports of racially insensitive comments made at a girls sporting event.

When it comes to student discipline, our schools follow our established protocols and policies in protecting student privacy. In accordance with privacy laws, we do not publicly release results of student discipline. We are, however, releasing information today to correct a misrepresentation that is circulating on social media about the timeline of events and the responses of the administration of Fremont High, Fremont Public Schools, Lincoln High and Lincoln Public Schools following an altercation between students of both high schools.

On Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 Lincoln High School girls and boys basketball teams traveled to Fremont for competition. It was reported by Lincoln High students there were racially insensitive comments made before and during the girls’ varsity game. Through our ongoing investigation we have learned there were interactions between a Fremont student and the girls’ varsity team. After the game, several Lincoln High students approached the Fremont student section and a confrontation occurred which included a Lincoln High student striking a Fremont student. Below is a timeline of events following the competition:

FRIDAY, FEB. 7
• Lincoln High and Fremont High administrators begin conversations about reports of events that unfolded during and after competition. Both schools agree to begin investigating and share their findings.

SATURDAY, FEB. 8
• Lincoln High administration meets with the team to discuss what happened.
• Fremont High principal apologizes to Lincoln High principal.
• Investigation continues through conversations with individuals involved including student-athletes, students, school staff, a game official, fans and parents to determine what occurred.

MONDAY, FEB. 10
• Through the investigation, Lincoln High and Fremont High administration determine there were different singular instances of inappropriate behavior by individuals at the event. Each school followed their student discipline policies in addressing the behaviors by the individuals.
• Lincoln High and Fremont High staff collaborate on opportunities to move the dialogue forward and foster learning between the two schools.
• NSAA is contacted by both schools to report findings.
• Fremont High boys freshman and reserve teams play at Lincoln High without a reported incident.

TUESDAY, FEB. 11
• Lincoln High School girls reserve basketball team plays at Fremont High without a reported incident.

THURSDAY, FEB. 13
• LHS girls team receives letters written by FHS girls team.

MONDAY, FEB. 17
• LPS administrators attend LHS team dinner to demonstrate support for the team and explain how these issues are addressed.
Through our conversations we have found what happened on Friday, Feb. 7 in Fremont is the result of extreme actions by a few individuals. The inappropriate behaviors of those individuals have been addressed by their respective schools. These behaviors do not reflect the values and beliefs of either school district.

High school sports teaches important life skills that include teamwork, leadership, positive social interactions and behaviors, character development, respect, integrity, fairness and sportsmanship. These are lessons for not only the student-athletes that compete, but also the student-spectators and the communities involved.

The Nebraska School Activities Association, Lincoln Public Schools and Fremont Public Schools remind all coaches, officials, students, parents and spectators that every person has an important role to play in positively contributing to an athletic competition. We stand together to emphasize that unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated under any circumstance. This includes fighting, physical intimidation, verbal abuse, racial or ethnic slurs, harassment, inappropriate comments or derogatory actions.

Every school takes great pride supporting their athletic teams and we have a duty to represent our communities with the utmost integrity. We agree that opponents are guests and should be treated as such. Disrespectful behavior toward any person - home or away - will not be tolerated. Any person found to violate NSAA bylaws and school policy will be held accountable and face the appropriate consequences, including but not limited to removal and being banned from contests to team forfeiture of contests.

If you see or hear anything of concern, please report it to your school administration immediately.