Sky View HS soccer players harassed with racial slurs during game against Alta

Local News

SANDY (News4Utah) – The Canyons School District is conducting an investigation after fans sitting in Alta High School’s student section allegedly shouted racial slurs at two Sky View High School soccer players.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was so shocked. I was so confused,” said Emmie Woodward, Sky View High School senior.

Emmie was adopted by her parents, Mark and Kate Woodward when she was 7 years old. Her sister, Darcy was adopted since birth. Both of them grew up in Smithfield and said they’ve always felt welcomed in their community.

“Skin color has never mattered. It’s never been anything that I’ve focused on,” said Darcy (Woodward family members will be identified by their first names in this article to avoid confusion).

Darcy and Emmie developed a passion for soccer years ago and said it never bothered them that they were usually the only two black players on their soccer teams. They said their teammates and opponents have already treated them with respect. However, Tuesday evening was a different story.

“It was probably 10 minutes into the first half when I heard a guy say, ‘Black lives don’t matter,'” said Emmie. “I was so hurt because I never thought people would say something like that to me.”

Her sister, Darcy said she also had racial slurs shouted at her.

“One person said, ‘Hey, number 20. I hope you’re embarrassed.’ I heard another one of them say, ‘Nice shot, n****,'” said Darcy.

Both girls said they brought the harassment to the attention of a referee and staff members, but nothing was done to stop it during the game.

That’s when their parents, Mark and Kate reached out to Canyons School District for answers.

“There are two aspects to this whole thing. One is with the students were doing. But the second is what the adults were NOT doing,” said Kate. “This is bullying. This is abuse and parents need to step up and teach their kids that this is not acceptable in a high school situation or a sports situation.”

Jeff Haney with Canyons School District said administrators immediately launched an investigation upon learning about the allegations.

“Canyons District has a very strong anti-discrimination, harassment, bullying policy. We do not tolerate acts of discrimination, harassment, or bullying on any Canyon District campus,” said Haney. “We want to make sure that any student that comes to Canyons School District, whether they’re part of one of our schools or part of an athletic team from another school, that they feel welcome.”

Mark said Alta High School’s principal has contacted the family and expressed serious concern about the incident.

“The principal at the high school immediately started interviewing the people who are at the game…coaches, students, faculty members to get witness statements,” said Haney.

School officials said their main objective is to identify the individuals who allegedly shouted the racial slurs.

“Any verified acts of discrimination or harassment or bullying, there will be discipline to the full extent under policy,” said Haney. “We have also started a plan to how we will address this within the Alta High community. It’s important for us to send the message loud and clear that all students are welcome.”

The Woodward family said they’re just hoping that by coming forward, they could prevent this from happening to someone else.

“It’s like how we never want to repeat history, it will just continue to happen if we don’t do anything about it,” said Darcy.

The Woodwards emphasized the incident had nothing to do with members of the Alta High School soccer team. They said the captain has called the family to apologize about what happened at their field.

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