Valley Center Conflict

Cole Gilpin

We all know that high school basketball games can get pretty intense. We also know that student sections are a big part of the game, bringing energy and passion to each matchup. Sometimes, students in the student section can go too far with their chants and or comments toward the opposing team’s players. Most recently, a high school basketball game between Valley Center High School and Topeka High School resulted in a controversy. The Topeka coach Geo Lyons accused the Valley Center student section of making derogatory racial comments and slurs towards his players during the game. 

The Topeka coach Geo Lyons is searching for more answers from Valley Center, all while trying to get other schools in the league to remove Valley Center from their schedule. The students in the student section at Valley Center were observed chanting extremely inappropriate chants while the opposing team was shooting free throws and went as far as to have a black baby doll in the stands that was being passed around to all of the students used as a prop to taunt the players. Valley Center states that the doll was just for a growth and development class at the school, but Topeka coaches and players claim that the baby was being used to taunt them. The students were shaking the baby at the players and yelling racial comments while holding it in the air, which is what led the Valley Center players and staff to believe that it was being used in an inappropriate way. 

The Topeka High School coach started a petition to remove Valley Center fans from all sporting events. The students and staff of Valley Center did not admit to anything at first, and they even claimed that they didn’t think the chants were offensive and inappropriate, yet a couple of days later, the Valley Center High School sent an apology to Topeka High, admitting to the racist chants and slurs during the game. However, they did still note that the black baby doll being passed around and waved at the players was for a student who was in a growth and development class, meaning that it was required for her to have it there. This would make sense, yet it doesn’t explain why the baby was being passed around throughout the student section. Valley Center attempted to make amends, but the staff and coaches at Topeka High are not taking the situation lightly. Valley Center made the decision to cancel school during this time due to the influx of violent threats that branched out from the situation. 

This situation is one that many schools would react to and handle differently. Most importantly, the students that were involved in the chants and slurs being shouted during the game should face a ban on attendance for the remainder of the games this season, and those proven to have not participated to face no punishment. This scandal portrays the whole Valley Center High School as racist when in reality, it is most likely a small group of disrespectful high school students. Topeka High has had every right to react the way they have and deserves to feel the way they do, yet I also feel like it is not fair to take away the ability to attend the games for the entire student body when it was just a small group of students.