Community Education Sports

School district investigating alleged racist comment at girls basketball game

Posted on January 23rd, 2023 By:

Peninsula School District has launched an investigation into claims of racist comments made at a Jan. 11 girls basketball game between Peninsula High School and Gig Harbor High School.

The district on Wednesday, Jan. 18, hired an independent third party to investigate allegations that a Gig Harbor player used a racial slur against a member of Peninsula’s team.

“We are interested in a quality investigation that is factual and accurate,” Assistant Superintendent Daniel Gregory said. “Peninsula School District takes allegations such as these very seriously, as discrimination has no place in our schools or community.”

Investigator is not district employee

The third-party investigator is not a district employee, said Danielle Chastaine, spokeswoman for the district.

“They’ll provide the facts and make a report, and district officials will make a determination if any disciplinary action is warranted, not only for our policy but for WIAA policy,” Chastaine said, referring to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. The WIAA is the governing body of high school sports in Washington state.

According to Gregory, as reported by Chastaine, Peninsula High administrators were informed of the allegation shortly after the Jan. 11 game. The following day, they gathered information and informed administrators at Gig Harbor High, who also gathered information. The alleged incident was reported to district leaders Jan. 13.

On Jan. 17, after the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, district administrators began the search for a third-party to review the allegation, a common practice for school districts.

The district also heard of the allegation via an email to Superintendent Krestin Bahr from “a concerned person from the community,” Chastaine said. Gregory responded to the email, letting the individual know the allegation was being investigated.

Students still eligible to compete

Under district policy, a student whose conduct is under investigation remains eligible to take part in activities until and unless disciplinary action is taken.

The district, in an email to Gig Harbor Now, issued the following statement:

“At PSD, we have high standards of conduct that are expected of all students. We encourage inclusivity, empathy, confidence and mutual respect among our students. As a district, we strive to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for every student, every day. This alleged incident goes against our district values, but it provides an opportunity for district leaders to increase learning opportunities for our students around mutual respect, culture and personal responsibility.”