SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – San Diego community activists traveled to San Clemente Monday to address allegations of various racial slurs used toward Lincoln High School cheerleaders during a football game at San Clemente High School last week.
At a news conference held outside of San Clemente High in Orange County, several community activists spoke out regarding the Sept. 13 incident, claiming teens and adults taunted the cheerleaders as they walked to restrooms and concession stands.
The cheerleaders said they were called “dogs” and were told they were going to be “dog walked” and needed to be on leashes, according to the activists.
“Dog walking someone is a violent term that young people use,” said Aeiramique Glass Blake, executive director of Generation Justice. “That basically means ‘I will beat you up, I will hurt you, I will dog walk you.’”
The cheerleaders reportedly left the game early due to the incident.
San Clemente High School officials declined to comment on camera Monday, but the day before, they sent 10News a copy of the letter Principal Chris Carter sent to the Lincoln High School community.
Carter wrote: “We are deeply concerned by the allegation that racist and offensive comments were directed towards your students and fans at the football game this past Friday. As the Principal of San Clemente High School, I work with my faculty, staff, students, families, and community to maintain the highest standards of respect for all individuals. We do not condone racist speech or actions at our school, and we unreservedly condemn hateful rhetoric that targets any person or group.”
But Blake said that letter just isn’t enough.
“What kind of upset me is there was not an apology in there,” Blake said. “I think there should have been an apology and there should be an action plan no matter the investigation, saying that we are going to do racial bias, restorative justice work on this campus because we never want anyone to walk away feeling what they felt on Friday night.”
One San Clemente High student told 10News he was shocked and disappointed with the school and the allegations, but did not personally hear the slurs, although he did watch the cheerleaders leave the game early.
He wanted them to know he was sorry on behalf of the school.
The San Diego Unified School District and Capistrano Unified School District are investigating the matter.
Football coach reacts to controversy
Even though Lincoln High lost Friday’s game against San Clemente, head coach David Dunn said everything on the field ran smoothly that night, but he was not immediately aware of the alleged harassment that was happening off the field.
“You can visibly see the hurt in their eyes, fighting back tears. That really upset me as a father, as a man, as a coach. That has no place at all,” Dunn told 10News.
Dunn said Lincoln High students approached him at halftime and told him of what was going on, prompting him to notify the athletic director.
“Racial slurs and derogatory statements made toward them. One of the main things that stick out is they were told they should be on leashes,” Dunn said of the comments allegedly made towards Lincoln High cheerleaders and drill team members.
For some students at the game, the taunting was just too much.
“It’s different when someone puts a real emphasis on using the n-word and they’re saying it with hatred and with the intent of hurting someone. It feels different … for a kid to experience this for the first time at 14, 15 years old, when everything is supposed to be free, it’s unfortunate,” said Dunn.
Dunn acknowledged that San Clemente High beat his team fair and square, and while he wouldn’t mind playing them again, he said racial slurs should never be used.
“Everybody needs to remember that this is just a game. If you have to go to that length, that just shows you have some really messed up character,” Dunn said.
Dunn’s message to every Lincoln High Hornet, especially those on the cheer and drill team: “It’s just a reminder to be confident and strong in who you are and know your worth.”
Dunn told 10News he was planning to have a team meeting with parents and coaches to discuss what happened how they can move forward as a team.
He also said he is reaching out to the cheerleaders and drill team to join the meeting.