Principal launches investigation of racial taunts during football game

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SAN DIEGO  -- The principal of Lincoln High School in San Diego has launched an investigation after hearing reports that students attending a football game at San Clemente High in Orange County were subject to racial taunts and slurs, it was reported Monday.

Lincoln Principal Stephanie Brown sent a letter to parents informing them that several students attending the game Friday night were "met with racial slurs by fans of the other team," the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Lincoln's cheerleading squad left early because of the taunts, according to the Union-Tribune.

In the letter posted on Facebook, Brown said school officials were taking the incident very seriously and that a vice principal planned to interview all students involved to document the incident Monday.

Multiple people at the game -- including students and adults -- heckled Lincoln players and the cheer squad during the game, using racial slurs including the "n-word," according to Clovis Honoré, the president of the San Diego branch of the NAACP.

Honoré posted a letter on the NAACP website titled "Racial harassment has no place in high school athletics" that was sent to Orange County school officials.

NAACP officials on Monday held a news conference in front of the school, calling on district officials to apologize and claiming Orange County sheriff's deputies ignored pleas for help. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes issued a statement denying the allegation.

"It is blatantly untrue," said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the sheriff. "The only thing told to our deputies is there were some kids from San Clemente who made their way over to the visitor's side, who were being rude and obnoxious, so deputies escorted them back over to the home side."

The hecklers were middle school students, not from the high school, Braun said.

Lincoln's head coach, David Dunn, told the Union-Tribune that players on the field didn't hear any of the comments but said they heard about it at halftime from the drill team and cheerleaders.

"There were taunts from the stands. The girls were told 'they should be on leashes,"' Dunn told the newspaper. "I was upset because it affected the young ladies. These are 14-, 15-year-old girls. There is no place for it. There was a lack of common decency and respect."

There weren't any racial comments made by San Clemente players or coaches, Dunn told the newspaper.

According to state education data, Lincoln High's enrollment in 2018- 19 was 19 percent African American, 70 percent Hispanic and 3 percent white. San Clemente High was 62.6 percent white.

A spokesman for the Capistrano Unified School District told the Union- Tribune that school officials planned to review footage shot by at least four cameras inside the stadium and interview people who attended the game.

Officials at both schools asked anyone with specific details, relevant cell phone videos or photographs to share that information with the school as officials try to identify individuals who were involved.

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