UPDATE: Following the release of CISD’s investigation findings Friday, the Hays Consolidated Independent School District responded Monday saying it didn’t receive any of the district’s findings.
CISD’s response said it did find students using racial slurs during a conversation, which wasn’t directed toward the players.
“Because it is Comal ISD’s investigation into its own students, it is their conclusion to make,” Hays CISD said.
As to the accusations that only the Hays players heard the comments Hays CISD said, “The Hays CISD inquiry into the matter finds that the Hays High School students are being truthful and have no reason to lie.”
Hays CISD said it continues to support its students and takes pride in the Hays High School volleyball team for having the courage to stand up against hate and racism.
After a week of investigating claims of racist comments made toward the Hays High School volleyball team during a match against Canyon High School last Friday, Comal ISD could not substantiate the allegations.
Game tape was reviewed at the moment witnesses say boys sitting behind the opposing team chanted “make a play (n-word)” six times, but the alleged comments couldn’t be verified in the video.
The district released the video on its YouTube page, and the chants made at the 45:45 timestamp when a team member missed the tip were not evident based on the footage, Acting CISD Superintendent Mandy Epley said.
“As I said in my statement last week, neither Comal ISD nor Canyon High School will tolerate this type of alleged behavior and the district would investigate this incident thoroughly as the district takes such allegations seriously,” Epley said.
In addition, the district collected statements from more than 30 individuals who might have knowledge of the incident.
The district received accounts from Canyon High School’s on duty resource officer, 22 students in the Canyon section, three parents near the section, the line judge on that side of the court, an administrator in attendance, Canyon’s cheer coach, coaches from Hays High School and students in the hallway after the game.
Hays High School cooperated with the investigation and handed over statements from two members on the school’s volleyball team who heard the alleged racial remarks.
The district reviewed the statements from the people on the list, and none reported hearing the foul language — only the two accounts submitted by the Hays players appeared to have heard the comments, Epley said.
The response from administration at the game received heavy criticism in a letter from the Hays volleyball team.
“We also feel that not enough was done to remedy the situation after our coaching staff brought the incident to the attention of the Canyon High School administrator on duty,” the team said. “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.”
Epley mentions a Facebook post where someone alleged the administrator rebuffed the concerns brought to their attention and the response given was to, “watch your mouth.”
Alternatively, the account from the Hays head coach reported her assistant informed the administrator and was met with the following response: “Oh no, we don’t condone that. I will take care of it,” Epley said.
In the video, the administrator appears to address the students in the section. Other students assert the administrator confronted them and asked if they had heard anything and they said, “no.”
The Facebook post also claimed members of the Hays team were accosted in the hallways after the game, and video footage shows the team crossing paths with basketball players, but students said there were no racial comments made, Epley said.
There was no additional interaction from the Hays volleyball team and Canyon attendees when leaving the building, according to video surveillance and statements from the resource officer.
“While we did not find evidence to substantiate that claims were made, during the investigation we discovered that a group of three students (not associated with the students who were accused of making racial chants toward the Hays volleyball team) were having a conversation that involved the use of racial slurs aimed at each other,” Epley said.
The students who were found to be engaged in the use of “derogatory language” have been identified and given disciplinary action by the district in accordance with its policy.
The Herald-Zeitung reached out to the chief communications officer for the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, but offices were closed, and therefore could not be reached for comment.