(Main Photo Credit: KATU)
Over the last few months we’ve seen racism caught on camera at various sporting events. While it’s nothing new, it’s finally being recorded for a national audience to see.
Russell Westbrook experienced it a few times and the Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr. was just thrust into the spotlight after racists targeted him on social media. But it’s not just professional athletes who are being subjected to the racist venom; it’s happening at every level, which is why legislators in Oregon are taking action.
The Oregon state House just passed House Bill 3409 in response to racist incidents at the school level. One incident in particular sparked the action.
According to KATU2, in a game between Parkrose High and St. Helens this past February, “the Parkrose girls’ coach says fans were making monkey noises and calling her girls a racial slur.”
The Parkrose School District responded quickly, issuing the following statement:
The Parkrose School District is working with the St. Helen’s School District to help repair the harm that has been done to our players. Our greatest concern is the larger issue of hatred and intimidation at athletic events when our students play in other communities. Many of our students of color past and present have shared stories of hateful language and intimidation at athletic events. We expect long term protections through the OSAA to establish a policy that has serious consequences for districts where this occurs.
Over a month later, the state legislature stepped into the situation, crafting the piece of legislation aimed at stomping out racism and punishing those involved in the ignorant actions.
“We want students to be able to participate, feel safe, feel valued, be able to see this as an opportunity for personal growth, and when you go to an event and you are ridiculed and harassed and intimidated – and it’s happened more than once since I’ve been in office – something’s got to change,” said House Speaker Tina Kotek during a public hearing.
So she and her colleagues drafted HB 3409, which, according to KATU2, “establishes new guidelines for school districts, which include implementing policies for naming calling, verbal assaults and ridicule at school activities, including spectators.
“It also introduces a reporting system that allows the public to file complaints and develops sanctions against schools, students, coaches and spectators.”
The House has passed the bill and now it moves to the Senate. Hopefully they’ll pass it too so that racism can be addressed both legally and properly at school sporting events.