The Marble Falls Independent School District in Texas is investigating claims that racist noises were made toward an East Central High School basketball player during a game at Marble Falls High School on Friday, Nov. 18. A video posted on social media shows the student section making what appear to be monkey noises while Asia Prudhomme was on the free throw line.
"This is sad, heartbreaking and uncalled for," Prudhomme wrote on Twitter while sharing the video. "Can't even play basketball without ignorance and racism in the stands. This really broke my heart, my coaches and teammates… please share this out and help us punish those involved."
The game was part of the Marble Falls Classic. East Central Athletic Director Suzette Arriola said during a press conference that the Marble Falls student section is typically "pretty active" and the gym was significantly full on Friday. She said there were "quite a few [administrators]" at the game. She was not there during Friday's game but said her assistant AD was there, sitting on the opposite side of the gym from the student section.
Arriola pointed out that the acoustics of the gym are bad, so it's difficult to hear distinctive sounds. She said Prudhomme didn't know what happened during the game. Head coach Vanessa Villarreal said she didn't hear the noises either.
"I did not hear then in the moment of the game. There was a lot going on," Villarreal said. "It was a pretty intense game. We could hear noises but we could not identify them."
The coaching staff was able to identify the noises later as they went through the game film. Villarreal said they found three different incidents where you could hear the noises. The video that went viral showed the moment in which the noises were most clear because the gym was mostly silent while Prudhoomme stood on the charity line toward the end of the second quarter.
Arriola said Prudhomme's grandfather and one of the parents from the team were sitting on the side of the student section. They were able to hear the noises.
"One of the parents at that point went to let the administration know. When she did, she did see the administration address the kid," Arriola said. "We don't know what they said to them, they did not ask them to leave. Never escorted anyone out of there, but she did see them go toward the student section."
The AD said the parent told her that the loud noises had stopped, but that she thought that they were still "underbreath, just not as loud."
The school district released a statement on Monday after confirming the investigation is underway.
"Marble Falls School District has an unyielding commitment to love every child and inspire them to achieve their fullest potential, and this applies to children outside of our school district as well. We will continue to work with administration at East Central High to fully investigate and hold students accountable for their actions," reads the statement. "Marble Falls ISD does not condone any form of discrimination, and we would like students at East Central to know they have our full support."