Players from Lakes High School and Stanwood High School on the field Nov. 4 in Stanwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Players from Lakes High School and Stanwood High School on the field Nov. 4 in Stanwood. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Visiting football team endures racial slurs at Stanwood football game

“Our coaches heard (the n-word) throughout the game from their players. It was bad,” Lakes High School coach Dave Miller said.

By Jon Manley /The News Tribune

STANWOOD — Lakes High School football players and cheerleaders were subjected to racist taunts and called the n-word at the team’s road playoff game at Stanwood High School on Friday night, by both the Stanwood student section and players on the Stanwood football team, according to witnesses. The game was a Week 10 playoff game against Stanwood.

In a Facebook post, Claire Dade Johnson said her daughter, a cheerleader for Lakes High School, was called the n-word in the girls bathroom by Stanwood students.

“I am proud and sad to post this because as hard as we try as parents to protect our children from this type of hate, all we can do is pray for them to take the high road and choose love,” Johnson wrote in the post.

Reached by phone on Monday morning, Dade Johnson said multiple girls followed her daughter and other Lakes cheerleaders into the girls bathroom, looked at them and called them “f-ing n-words.”

“One of the (Lakes cheerleader coaches) said, ‘You’re better than that, let’s leave,” Dade Johnson said. “They said they’re going to review the tape and see who followed the girls in during that time and would follow up with those people.”

Also reached by phone on Monday morning, Lakes head football coach Dave Miller said the n-word was directed at his football players during pregame warmups from the student section and by Stanwood football players during the game.

“It was pretty prevalent,” Miller said. “The student section was yelling the n-word at our players. Our coaches heard it throughout the game from their players. It was bad. … I hope it’s not representative of the whole community and it’s just some isolated people that are very ignorant.”

Miller said he and his coaching staff had to pull players out of the game on multiple occasions to calm them down because of the racist language.

“During the game, it was happening a lot on the field,” Miller said. “We had to calm down a lot of my players that were having a hard time maintaining their composure, because they’re not used to hearing that. It’s sad that in 2022, we still have people who want to judge people by the color of their skin.”

In an email statement to The News Tribune, a spokesperson for the Stanwood-Camano School District said they’re aware of the incident.

“Stanwood-Camano School District was made aware of and is addressing a social media post about racist comments made during the Stanwood-Lakes football game Friday, Nov. 4,” the statement reads. “We take allegations like these seriously. We are in the process of gathering information about the allegations and will update our community more when able.

“I am heartbroken by these reports. The district will complete a thorough investigation,” Stanwood-Camano School District Superintendent Dr. Deborah Rumbaugh said.

Any updates will be posted to the school district’s website (stanwood.wednet.edu) and social media accounts, the spokesperson said.

Dade Johnson said she just wants people to be held accountable.

“It’s very sad,” she said. “It’s disheartening. My kid has done so many things that have been positive, helping others. It’s so sad. … I was only posting it because I want them to follow up with the students. I don’t want it to go away, be swept under the rug. I want them to be held accountable.”

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