SAN DIEGO — San Clemente High School officials have confirmed that a racial slur was directed at a student from San Diego’s Lincoln High and offensive comments were made in the stands toward visiting fans and students during a Sept. 13 football game between the schools.
San Clemente principal Chris Carter sent a letter Friday to the Lincoln and San Clemente high school communities that said, “Based on our extensive investigation, we were able to confirm that two individuals in the restroom used a racial epithet when addressing a Lincoln High School Student. In addition, statements we collected confirmed that derogatory words were heard in our bleachers.
“As the Principal of San Clemente High School, I, along with my administrative team, deeply regret the pain to both the individual students affected and the Lincoln High School community as a whole and extend our sincerest apologies.”
The letter was reported in the Orange County Register.
“We could not identify the students, but it is believed that they were San Clemente students based on statements we received from both Lincoln High and San Clemente students,” Capistrano Unified School District public information officer Ryan Burris said.
Lincoln students and others had alleged that several Lincoln cheerleaders and students were the targets of the slurs and insults.
Last week, Lincoln Principal Stephanie Brown sent a letter to parents informing them that several students attending the game were “met with racial slurs by fans of the other team.”
Lincoln’s cheerleading squad left early because of the taunts, according to the San Diego 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.
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 Honore, the president of the San Diego branch of the NAACP.
Honore 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 held a news conference in front of the school Monday, 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.