Dr. Brian Henry, the superintendent of the Waynesville R-VI School District who previously served as the deputy superintendent and as an assistant superintendent in the Camdenton R-III School District as well as Camdenton High School principal, issued the following statement Monday in response to claims of racial slurs and other negative comments made by Camdenton visitors to the Waynesville High School band during Friday's Waynesville-Camdenton football game.
Dr. Brian Henry
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Oct. 26, 2015) — We are certainly disheartened by the situation that occurred during Friday night’s Waynesville versus Camdenton football game where several of our marching band students endured negative comments. We take these comments very seriously, and have been investigating the situation through interviews with our band members, as well as sharing these concerns with Camdenton School District officials. Through interviews, we have discovered that the comments came from an isolated, very small group of individuals as Waynesville band students were at attention and preparing to march onto the football field to perform. Waynesville students heard a variety of comments, including some that were insulting and demeaning. A few students have alleged the use of racial slurs. If further allegations arise, they will be investigated.
Sportsmanship, respect for others and understanding the true reason for extra-curricular activities in public schools, which is to enhance the educational experience and build the confidence and leadership abilities of the participants, was lost in this extremely unfortunate incident. Shouting derogatory or disrespectful comments toward participants, faculty, administration, coaches, or anyone attempting to support young people and their school district has no place in extra-curricular activities and will not be tolerated in the Waynesville R-VI School District.
Camdenton School officials have welcomed the information we have provided and are also interviewing students who were standing in the identified area of concern and will assess appropriate discipline in accordance with their district policy. This investigation is not complete at this time; however, Camdenton officials have assured us that it is a significant concern for their district and will be dealt with immediately.
Many have reported adults engaging in similar behavior and we will do all we can to assist in the identification of these individuals. It is important to note that extra-curricular activities are a privilege — not a right for individuals — and attendance at these events is solely under the discretion of the school district. If individuals cannot adhere to the Ozark Conference Sportsmanship Creed and basic respect for others, they will not be allowed to remain at an event, or future events, regardless of their team affiliation.
Our district is a high-performing and diverse school district that prepares students for success in a very diverse and rapidly changing world. We plan to use this incident as a tool for educating and creating a much better understanding of what high school activities are supposed to be about. Many of our students have indicated an understanding that this behavior came from a small group, not the majority, demonstrating their maturity and thoughtful approach to this difficult situation.
Click here to follow the Pulaski County Daily News on Twitter
Click here to follow the Pulaski County Daily News on Facebook