Student says fight at Tahoma school wasn’t racially motivated
District officials say that a fight at Maple Valley’s Tahoma High School included students hurling racial slurs. One of the students involved in the scuffle, though, says that it wasn’t racially motivated.
According to reporting from KIRO 7 TV, the incident involved six students, five of whom were suspended for their role in the fight. Two were reportedly students of color, while the other four were white. Witnesses claim that racial slurs were used by those involved in the fight, an assertion a student speaking anonymously to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show denies.
“It was more or less I was at lunch and saw one of my friends getting picked on,” he described. “I walked over there and said, ‘that’s not cool,’ and the kid wanted to get in my face over it, … and eventually got to the point where I felt the need to defend myself.”
“No one in my party used (a racial slur),” he added. “The only (racial slur) used was by somebody who was in the crowd.”
The district issued a statement to KIRO 7 regarding the incident, saying the following:
Like so many communities in our country, there is evidence of racism and inequities in our district and community, which we have heard from many of our students and we are actively addressing. Our school board has adopted long-term strategies over the last year with a primary goal of eliminating those inequities. We’ve developed an equity steering committee to provide leadership as well as equity committees in the following areas: family engagement, student voices, school culture and climate, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and staffing. Our staff is undergoing diversity training in order to increase our awareness, knowledge and skill as we work to support each and every student. We are utilizing an equity lens to identify patterns of racism in our system and to continue learning and improving for our underrepresented students.
Moving forward, the Tahoma School District will further investigate the fight to determine whether any students used racial epithets. A video of the incident posted by KIRO 7 TV does not include audio, but does show how it escalated from back-and-forth shoving to a brawl involving the six students.
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