SAISD files complaint over taunting at Edison-Alamo Heights playoff game

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by David Flores / Kens5.com

kens5.com

Posted on March 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 7 at 6:30 PM

The San Antonio Independent School District has filed a complaint with the UIL regarding the behavior of a group of Alamo Heights High School students after the Mules' victory over Edison in the Region IV-4A boys basketball final Saturday, SAISD athletic director Gil Garza said Tuesday.

The Alamo Heights students chanted "USA, USA, USA" after the Mules were presented the championship trophy at Littleton Gym.

Edison and SAISD officials said they took the chant as ethnic taunting, given that Edison is a minority team and Alamo Heights' squad is predominantly Anglo.

Alamo Heights head coach Andrew Brewer and a few others in the Mules' stands immediately put a stop to the chant when it rose from the student section.

Garza filed the complaint with the UIL, the governing body for extracurricular activities in Texas public schools, on Tuesday while attending a conference in Dallas for the state's high school athletic directors.

"I appreciate Coach Brewer taking the action he took to stop it," Garza said. "Our kids try real hard and work extra hard to get to the regional tournament, and then we have to worry about them being subjected to this kind of insensitivity.

"To be attacked about your ethnicity and being made to feel that you don't belong in this country is terrible. Why can't people just applaud our kids? It just gets old and I'm sick of it. Once again, we're on pins and needles wondering what's going to happen."

Lanier, another SAISD school, was subjected to the same taunting in a playoff game against Cedar Park, also at Littleton Gym, last year. Alamo Heights beat the Voks 72-58 in the regional semifinals Friday night.

Under UIL protocol, the Alamo Heights Independent School District will have 10 days to respond to the SAISD's complaint.

Alamo Heights beat Edison 50-39 to earn its first berth in the state tournament since 1991. The loss to the Mules ended a breakthrough season for Edison, which advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in 50 years.

"Our kids deserve better than hearing what they did after the game from those Alamo Heights students, even if it was just for a few seconds," Garza said. "Once it's out, it's out. These students also rained on their own team's celebration."

Alamo Heights superintendent Kevin Brown apologized to SAISD officials and said that the students who took part in the chanting have apologized and will be banned from attending the Mules' game against Dallas Kimball in the state semifinals Thursday in Austin.

"Obviously, we were disappointed that this happened," Brown said Tuesday afternoon. "That's not who we are as a community and that's not who we are as a school. It's not something that's acceptable for us. Our kids are very respectable. We have to remember that they're teenagers, and kids make mistakes.

"Still, there are consequences. We have tried to use this as a teachable moment for them. We have talked to our students. We've taken responsibility for it, although what happened is not representative of everybody who was there."

Brewer, a 1994 Alamo Heights graduate who is in his first season as the school's head boys basketball coach, addressed the student body via closed-circuit TV on Tuesday.

"He thanked the kids for their support and for being classy all year, but he told them they have to do better than this," Brown said, referring to Saturday's postgame incident. "We want to get the focus back on our basketball team because those kids deserve it.

"At the same time, we know we can't just let it go. We own up to it and it was a mistake that was made. I think these kids have learned a lot from this. We hope nothing like this happens again."

Brown said that an assistant principal, a couple of students and a couple of parents, along with Brewer, helped put a quick stop to the chanting.

 

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