May 23, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

HBUSD and Marina apologize to SAUSD and Segerstrom over ‘two student-generated signs with racial undertones’ at Friday’s football game

Players from Segerstrom and Marina shake hands after Friday night’s Big Four League game at Marina. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Officials from the Santa Ana Unified School District and Huntington Beach Unified School District issued a statement Saturday afternoon in regards to allegations of racism at Friday’s football game between Segerstrom and Marina at Marina.

The statement involves signs that were posted at the game. Pictures of the signs which were alleged to have been posted were posted, it appears by a Segerstrom supporter, on social media.

The statement does not indicate what wording was on the signs.

The statement was released by Santa Ana Unified School District on behalf of the two superintendents.

JOINT STATEMENT FROM SANTA ANA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD PRESIDENT VALERIE AMEZCUA AND HUNTINGTON BEACH UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD PRESIDENT DR. DUANE DISHNO REGARDING OCT. 25, 2019 FOOTBALL GAME:

“Last evening, an incident occurred during a football game between Segerstrom High School and Marina High School in which two student-generated signs with racial undertones were displayed near the entrance of the stadium and in front of the snack bar. 

“Segerstrom students and parents saw the signs and received them as offensive. 

“Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) officials have shared their concerns with Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) administrators regarding the incident, and are working together to resolve the issue and to use the unfortunate incident as a teachable moment for students.

“HBUHSD and Marina High School accept responsibility for the incident and apologize to the students, families and staff of Segerstrom High School.

“SAUSD and HBUHSD believe strongly in the principles of diversity and inclusion. Every student deserves to feel valued and respected. What happened Friday night was offensive and contrary to both districts’ guiding principles – and for that, HBUHSD apologizes.

“The Marina High School principal has also apologized and will be meeting with the Principal of Segerstrom High School to consider next steps in collaboration with Segerstrom through restorative circles to help strengthen relationships as well as provide diversity training for Marina’s Associated Student Body and other student organizations.

“HBUHSD has reached out to the Orange County Human Relations Commission and to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), to assist in working with Marina students to build greater understanding of why what occurred was wrong and how we can build and maintain a strong relationship based on mutual respect.

“The safety, along with the social-emotional and mental well-being of each and every one of our students, is of utmost importance to SAUSD.

“Santa Ana Unified will employ Restorative Practices to address the issue; staff will meet when school reconvenes Monday to converse with Segerstrom students who were impacted by the incident; and communicate with our parents and families our joint district plan to resolve the concern.

“Both districts want to assure students, parents, staff and community that both HBUHSD and SAUSD reject racism in any form in our schools and community and that it is never acceptable.”

Marina won the game 25-14 to inch closer to its first league title since 1986. Segerstrom and Marina were tied for the league lead going into the game. The game was hard-fought but there were no incidents during the contest and no reports of problems among fans.

The statement from SAUSD and Huntington Beach district comes after comments on social media alleging that Segerstrom players and fans were also subjected to racial comments after the game. Segerstrom’s team is comprised of mostly Hispanic players.

A Twitter post alledged that one woman, along with Segerstrom football players and members of the cheer team were the subject of racial taunts as they were leaving the stadium at Westminster High.

Segerstrom football coach Joseph Tagaloa did not respond to OC Sports Zone for a comment regarding the allegations and Marina officials Saturday.

Tagaloa issued a statement on Sunday.

The statement from the school districts did not address the allegation about players and cheerleaders being the subject of racial taunts.

It’s the second reported incident of alleged racist signs involving a Santa Ana High school at a football game in the past two years. Last season, the Orange County Register reported that racist signs were allegedly posted at an Aliso Niguel home game with Santa Ana. Administrators from both schools addressed the issue. Click here for the story.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com