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Henrico school officials announce meeting over racially charged video

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 18:50:01-04

HENRICO, Va. -- Parents of football players at Short Pump Middle School still have many questions surrounding a video which shows some football players simulating sex acts in the boy’s locker room and making racist remarks.

Parents have demanded more answers from the school system.

"We're looking for better communication from the schools," said Andy Clarkson, who has a son on the team.

Clarkson and others parents said it's time the Henrico County School Board or Superintendent address parents directly about the events leading up to and after the disturbing video.

"It seems like they want to keep information and want this to just go away and not share with us everything that went on," Clarkson said.

The video that was posted on Snapchashows middle school football players simulating sex acts and taunting black students with racist remarks inside the boy's locker room.

Clarkson said people have told him there is additional video that could shed more on light on what happened.

"That maybe that this was a prank or a staged event that went way out of hand," Clarkson said.

"I want to understand what happened, right?" said another parent of a football player, who asked for her identity to be concealed.

She said she's been told there was not an adult in the locker room supervising the kids when the video was filmed.

"There wasn't an adult in the locker room supervising our children? So our children are just left to their own devices?” the mother said.

“Of course they are going to rough house and play if they are continuing to be left alone,” she added.

CBS 6 requested an interview with the Superintendent or School Board to address parent concerns, but spokesperson Andy Jenks declined the request.

Jenks referred to a letter the board sent out Friday announcing the team would have to forfeit the rest of its games, but practices would continue.

“A mandatory component of practices will be discussions that focus on reporting responsibilities, accountability, ethics, sexual harassment, and racial tolerance,” it said in the letter.

Short Pump Middle principal Thomas McAuley addressed the video last week, and called the actions “appalling, disturbing, and inexcusable.”

School leaders say they are working to develop action steps to prevent similar incidents from ever happening again.

“We will include staff, parent, administrator and student representatives in this dialogue,” read the letter. “Our hope is to use this very unfortunate event as a meaningful learning opportunity for students moving forward.”

"They're letting it stand and that's just not acceptable to both us the parents that were involved in this, and to the community at large based on yesterday's meeting," Clarkson said.

Late Monday school officials announced a 7 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Short Pump Middle School Auditorium.

“We would like to keep you updated on the steps being taken to address the recent incident in the football locker room,” school officials said.

They will share preliminary plans for moving forward and will welcome input from the school community.

School Board Member Micky Ogburn will facilitate a discussion that includes the superintendent, school staff and central office administrators.

Earlier that day, parents of some of the football players plan to coordinate a unity exercise, where football players and others in the school will wear orange and hand out orange unity wrist bands.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Wednesday is Unity Day 2017.