I am on a leave of absence as a reporter due to personal health issues and the COVID situation. I’m not at liberty to disclose the offending school district at this time, but I will say that it’s a Northeast Iowa Conference school with a long history of bad behavior in this regard. I know this from personal experiences 35+ years ago, when I was an athlete in the conference.
Very pleased that the leadership in the Charles City School District chose to address this. The attached letter is spot on. This is not acceptable, and should never be tolerated.
Would like to know how this situation was handled in real time on the spot by those watching and participating. Were the instigators confronted? If those who misbehave like this are called out and publicly embarrassed immediately, perhaps reprimanded, they are less likely to become repeat offenders.
Also, were the targeted student-athletes and their teammates counseled in any way after the incident? This can be emotionally and psychologically damaging to a young person, and they need to know that they are supported, protected and did nothing wrong.
They also can be advised as to mature ways to handle these kinds of situations. We are beyond the days when we would tell an athlete to just "grin and bear it," and yet any person can understandably be inclined to react with disproportionate rage and anger in his own defense or in the defense of a friend and teammate, causing the situation to escalate out of control. Was this discussed with the team? Even ugly incidents like this can become teachable moments.
Finally, I believe that the Charles City School District should let the other school know that — until they have taken clear steps to convincingly handle this situation — Charles City will not participate with or against them in any events, athletic or otherwise. Send a powerful message. If you expect to have visitors, you clean up your house. Until you do, you are not welcome in our house.
LINK TO THE STATEMENT
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR OUR FAMILY
Dear Charles City Family,
Our mission and why we exist is simple; regardless of who you are or what your story is, you can learn and be loved here. This speaks to our passion and love of ensuring ALL students are welcome, can learn, and feel unconditional love. It especially speaks to our passion and commitment to justice, fighting oppression, and creating compassionate competent problem solvers that are willing to lean into the challenge of creating a better world. A better world without bigotry.
During a recent away athletic contest one of our African-Amercan players endured several bigoted comments yelled from the crowd. This included, “Get back to the fields!” and “You’re only here because of George Floyd.” Sadly, this has been a pattern of behavior that our students of color have had to endure in many different places and contexts and is part of their daily experience.
This is unacceptable. As a place where we do what is best for all kids, We feel compelled to speak out and bring light to the situations that routinely happen to our kids. Our students must know we have their backs regardless of the circumstances and that we are fighting shoulder to shoulder with them to end oppression and to create the world that we know is possible. Our state and nation needs to know that our thoughts, words, and actions matter. We must do better. We must be better.
Our Charles City school and community is blessed to have the diversity of people we have. It is what makes Charles City such a wonderful and beautiful place. We will never let people tear us down with their words and actions. We are strong because of the adversity we endure and how we become better from it. Our kids in Charles City are the future that will shape and transform this world for the better.
Charles City is a place where regardless of who you are or what your story is, you can learn and be loved here. This is why we exist and our promise to our kids and community.
All the best,
Charles City Community Schools Senior Leadership Team
Mike Fisher, Superintendent