A high school basketballer's mom has demanded action after a student in the stands was recorded hurling racist comments at her son during a recent game.
Sabrina Little-Brown shared the video on Instagram on Tuesday, describing how her son, Makai, was taken aback after he heard the comments while rewatching footage from a Friday night game "as he always does," on Saturday morning before practice.
In the video, a person can be heard saying, "Where is his slave owner?," "Who let him out of his chains?," "Chain him up," and "He's a monkey" as her son shoots free-throws.
"He came into my room STUNNED," Little-Brown wrote of her son who plays for Portola High School. "What he heard directed 100% to him is contained in this video, but these disgusting, racist insults continued throughout the entire game footage. Needless to say, our family is up in arms."
When reached by The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Laguna Hills High School athletic director Scott Wilford said administrators "have been investigating it all weekend and are still working on it."
Saddleback Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Crystal Turner confirmed in a statement to parents, obtained by The Daily Beast, that the incident occurred at Laguna Hills High School during the Friday night game against Portola High, which is part of another local school district.
According to Turner, school officials determined that the "inappropriate and inflammatory racist comments" came from a Laguna Hills student after reviewing game footage and interviewing spectators.
"The language and connotations expressed by the words used do not represent the culture, attitudes, or feelings of the students and staff of LHHS, nor those of Saddleback Valley Unified School District," she wrote, adding that the school is "taking action."
"The student has been counseled, and immediate, appropriate consequences and discipline have taken place," she wrote. "Although apologies are necessary, they do not suffice. The words used by this student will never be acceptable."
Turner said that administrators also attended practice to talk about the seriousness of what happened with players and coaches. "Appropriate personnel actions, while required to remain confidential, have taken place," she added.
Little-Brown didn't immediately respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment on Wednesday but in her post she alluded to broader challenges, saying she believed Laguna Hills Boys Basketball "fosters a culture of aggression, unsportsmanlike conduct and RACISM!"
She also claimed Laguna Hills head coach David Yates had subjected her son to "verbal abuse" and "aggressive behavior," and that her husband confronted him about it.
"As a result of this verbal abuse my normally calm and level headed husband yelled at the coach to tell him not to address our son," she wrote.
According to Little-Brown, an assistant coach responded, telling her husband to "meet him outside in the parking lot after the game."
Her husband was escorted out of the game after responding to the assistant coach's comments, she said.
Yates joined Laguna Hills High School as head boys varsity coach after the 2017 season, according to a biography for coaching staff posted on the Laguna Hills website. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast but he told the Orange County Register that Little-Brown's retelling of the encounter was inaccurate.
"There is much more regarding the entire incident that I am not permitted to share," he said.
Wilford declined to comment on details from the incident that involved Yates, noting that he wasn't at the game.
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Meanwhile, Makai's dad Terrell Brown told KABC that what happened to his son seemed to reflect more broadly on Laguna Hills High School.
"It's deeper than just what that child was saying," he told the outlet. "Their culture just seems to be broken to where it's just not an environment that feels safe, at least safe for us."
His wife and other Portola High School parents addressed their concerns to city leaders during an Irvine City Council meeting on Tuesday night, KABC reported.
"This isn't the end. This is just the beginning of the work that's ahead of us and for Laguna Hills High School, of the city of Laguna Hills, Saddleback Unified, fix yourself," Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Kahn reportedly said at the meeting.
Addressing the racist comments directed at Little-Brown's son, Yates told the Register: "Of course they're disgusting. They don't represent the school, the district or our basketball program."
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