CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Mallard Creek High School Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team is demanding a public apology from the students from Lake Norman High School.
The Iredell-Statesville School District (ISSD) conducted its own investigation and determined their students actively and aggressively targeted players from Mallard Creek High School at the volleyball game on Sept. 25 at Lake Norman High School.
“What was done was not right,” Mallard Creek High School parent Chad Schilling said. “It’s not acceptable, not something to laugh at. It’s not something we are mad about because we are poor sportsmen and maybe we lost the game – it has nothing to do with that – it’s how you treat another individual.”
Parents say Lake Norman High School students yelled racial and sexual comments to the players for the entire game.
Parents say when a Hispanic Mallard Creek Volleyball player was on the floor, Lake Norman students yelled “USA, USA” and sang the “National Anthem.” They were implying that she was not American.
Parents also say when another player was on the court, students called her “Dora the Explorer” – and that student is Indian.
Mallard Creek players remained focused during the taunts, but they admit it was a challenge.
“More than anything – frustrated,” Mallard Creek player Diana Guevara said. “Because one we could not do anything about it.”
Parents also claim Long Creek High School students screamed the jersey numbers of some Mallard Creek players and mentioned they did certain sex acts. Parents also say as Mallard Creek players went up to serve the ball, Lake Norman students yelled they were dumped by their boyfriends.
“It made us feel disrespected,” Mallard Creek player Sophia Desai said.
Mallard Creek parents are upset and say this ordeal really did something to the team.
“Just broke down in tears,” Schillling said. “As a parent. I couldn’t have felt more helpless. It was horrifying to be honest with you.”
The ISSD Superintendent Brady Johnson says there will be action taken against the students involved. He says there will be disciplinary action and required sportsmanship training for students, and training for coaches and school administrators.
Parents say that isn’t enough.
“Deliver the harshest penalties that they can to everyone that was involved,” Mallard Creek parent Tiffany Morgan said. “From the refs to the students to the volleyball players to the athletic director to the principal.”
Parents claim Mallard Creek’s coach went to the referee to complain.
“She made a comment to the down ref – ‘when is enough enough?'” Schilling said. “The down ref blew her off and walked away.”
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is now involved. Commissioner Que Tucker knows about this incident – she saw the tape where the comments could be heard.
“For us to be having to address this in this day and time is frustrating,” Tucker said. “It’s disappointing, but I think it is a sign of what we are dealing with as a culture and as a society in general.”
Tucker says she is confident the school district will take care of this matter quickly and believes there could be ongoing punishments for students involved.
“We will continue to watch and see if there is a repeat occurrence,” Tucker said. “Then we will take additional steps if we need to.”
The ISSD did apologize to the Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) District Superintendent but Mallard Creek players want an apology offered to them.
“If we play them again,” Desai said. “I want to see change and better circumstances.”
Parents claim other teams have complained about how Lake Norman High School students treat them. They want it to stop. The players say they are now stronger because of this and want to show other athletes how to conduct themselves. They also say if they are targeted next time – they will know how to handle it.
“Knowing what I know now,” Mallard Creek player Skyy Howard said. “I would stop playing and we would not play again until an adult or administration or somebody in charge handled them.”
WBTV reached out to ISSD for comment. Officials have not returned the calls.