PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Molalla High School is on probation for one year and required to take steps to ensure its students do not commit acts of racism in the future after an incident that happened at a boys basketball game in January.
The Oregon Student Activities issued a letter to the Molalla River School District on March 31 with details of its decision and what it determined took place.
In the letter, OSAA states, “Our collective goal has been to ensure that a restorative and educational process is used to support action and healing, as well as prevent reoccurrence.”
The district redacted parts of the letter before sharing it with KOIN 6 News, saying there are portions it cannot disclose in order to protect students’ identities.
The one finding that was not redacted stated that there was “Heckling from some people seated in the Molalla High School student section, which included some students from another school, was poor at times but was not determined to be racially motivated.”
On Jan. 28, Gladstone High School students say a woman pointed an image of an American flag and Confederate flag on her phone toward the basketball team as she escorted them to the visitor’s locker room. During the varsity game, Gladstone students say a Molalla student fan had his face and upper body painted black and that Molalla students were making monkey noises while Gladstone’s Black players had the ball or were shooting free throws.
The probation for Molalla High School begins March 31, 2022. OSAA says any violation the school commits during the probationary period will result in even more strenuous penalties.
In addition to the probation, OSAA is requiring Molalla High School to take the following steps to ensure such incidents don’t happen again.
- All administrators and event management staff must undergo training to protect the safety of spectators and guests and to understand the impact of hate symbols on people of color.
- The school must communicate with OSAA about how it is addressing the incidents that occurred at the January basketball game.
- The high school is required to review how its school spirit days and event themes are elected in accordance with guidelines from the Oregon Association of Student Councils.
- The school must implement the S.T.A.R. initiative to promote good sportsmanship and educate event attendees about how to report harassment. S.T.A.R. is an acronym and stands for safety, tolerance, acceptance and respect. The standards intend to provide “the safest and most welcoming environment to all who attend OSAA sanctioned events.”
- Molalla High School is also required to develop an incident response protocol to act quickly on reports of harassment and discrimination.
In a letter sent to families on April 19, Gladstone Superintendent Bob Stewart wrote, “No student should be subjected to racism, and we will not tolerate it. In each Gladstone school, we will continue our journey to evaluate and improve how we treat others, with the goal of building mutual respect, understanding, equity, and inclusion.”
Stewart said his district is also committed to working on the areas OSAA recommended Molalla make improvements in, such as staff equity training and the use of S.T.A.R. protocols at athletic events.
“Our hope is that because of the courage of the Gladstone students who reported their experience, those who inflicted harm can begin to understand the impact of their actions and change their behavior moving forward,” Stewart wrote.
The Molalla River School District also issued a statement in response to OSAA’s findings. In it, the district stated, “Molalla River School District respects OSAA’s findings and has already begun taking appropriate steps to develop and implement an action plan to address them.
“Creating an open and welcoming environment for all students, visitors and guests has always been a priority of every Molalla River school, and we will continue to honor that commitment as we move forward.”
In early February, OSAA told KOIN 6 News it had contracted a third-party investigator to look into the incident. The Molalla Police Department said it was also investigating the reported racism because it is a “potential crime and bias-based incident.”