LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood and Mukilteo school districts have hired a third-party investigator to look into allegations of discriminatory comments aimed at Black players during a varsity girls basketball game May 20 at Lakewood High School, officials from both districts said Thursday.
The Lakewood School District received a complaint from a Mariner High School girls basketball player about racist comments from the Lakewood crowd, according to Lakewood Superintendent Scott Peacock.
Mariner girls basketball coach Reggie Davis removed his team from the court with about four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a game that Lakewood was leading 38-35.
Peacock said the video stopped because the game ran past the time frame the stream had been set up for. The varsity contest started about 20 minutes later than its scheduled 7:15 p.m. tipoff.
Lakewood expressed its own concerns about the game, citing overly physical play by Mariner.
The decision to hire a third-party investigator came after leaders from both school districts met last Friday and again Monday, according to Mukilteo School District spokeswoman Diane Bradford.
Simmons Sweeney Smith, a Bellingham-based law firm, is investigating the claims. The firm will review footage from the game and interview coaches and players from each team, as well as the game’s referees.
“We want to understand fully what happened so that we can respond fully to whatever it is we find,” Peacock said. “We want to make sure … both our students and any students that come to our district are protected and feel safe and welcome.”
Peacock said a report on the investigation is expected by June 11.
Another incident occurred last Saturday at Connell High School in Eastern Washington, where a group of students made racist remarks and offensive gestures at Black players from the Zillah High School girls basketball team while they shot free throws.
On Twitter, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on Wednesday condemned racist actions at high school sporting events.
“Recent incidents involving hateful comments and remarks at multiple school contests are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the organization tweeted. “There is no place for racist actions or words at these events. The WIAA implores our member schools to create a safe and healthy environment where all students can enjoy the benefits of participation.”