Several students at a high school in North Texas have been suspended over what administrators claim was a racially charged gift given to rival members of a competing band.
On Friday, members of the Atascocita High School marching band exchanged gifts with Summer Creek High School band members prior to the night’s football game.
Their gift contained candy and fruits, such as a small watermelon, coconut and pineapple and watermelon gum, and was packaged in a plastic decorated Halloween jack-o-lantern.
“The gift is supposed to encourage good sportsmanship,” reports ABC affiliate KTRK.
But an “investigation” by school district administrators determined the gift to indeed be “racist.”
A statement from the district condemned the students for their “racial insensitivity” and lack of “good sportsmanship.”
“It is a tradition for student representatives of competing schools to exchange gifts on the field at varsity football games,” the district wrote in a statement.
“Today, school administrators conducted an investigation and after considering the totality of the circumstances, determined that the gift was inappropriate and lacked good sportsmanship. Atascocita High School will not tolerate racial insensitivity.”
The following things are now racist; - Watermelon - Coconut - Pineapple You have been warned. https://t.co/nQJkcAR2dZ
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) October 20, 2015
The students, however, say there was nothing racist about their gift, and insist they never even considered racial motivations.
“We didn’t do anything wrong,” one flutist told KTRK. “We wouldn’t do that because we know better than that. Our parents raised us better.”
Another student, senior Alyssa Taylor, says she doesn’t believe the allegations.
“I’m mixed (race). I don’t take offense to that. How can someone else take offense?” Taylor said.
While the district isn’t disclosing the full extent of the punishment due to “privacy laws,” the students say they’ve been told they will be suspended and likely have their band privileges terminated.
“We weren’t being racist towards them (Summer Creek),” the flutist offers as a condolence. “If they took it that way, we’re sorry. We didn’t mean any harm.”