Basketball player taunted with racial slurs during game at Wallkill Valley, family says

| 28 Feb 2019 | 09:58

    The family of a Lenape Valley High School basketball player says racial slurs, including the N-word and monkey noises, were hurled at their son during a varsity game at Wallkill Valley High — and officials did nothing to stop it.
    Stefanie Dickerson, the mother of Lenape Valley senior basketball guard Nasir Dickerson, attended her son's game on Feb. 13 at Wallkill Valley Regional High School with her husband, as well as Nasir's sister and grandmother.
    Throughout the hour-and-a-half long game, Stefanie said Wallkill Valley spectators shouted at her son, calling him the N-word, a “monkey,” and made monkey noises at him. She said Wallkill Valley officials and game referees failed to put a stop to it.
    “The officials did NOTHING, the school administrators did NOTHING,” she wrote in a lengthy Facebook post six days after the game, which included a short video of the game.
    The post sparked outraged comments and calls for Wallkill Valley staff and the fans involved to be punished.
    In the full-length video on YouTube, several commenters have timestamped moments in the video when they say the “N-word” and “monkey” can be heard. Others said they cannot clearly hear what is being shouted.

    Wallkill Valley Superintendent David Carr posted a message on the school's website addressing the game, saying the district is investigating the allegations.
    “In response to allegations of racist and inappropriate conduct that occurred at the recent basketball game between Wallkill Valley and Lenape Valley, the district will undertake a thorough investigation,” Carr said. “As a district, we take these accusations very seriously. Racism in any form will not, nor has it ever been tolerated at Wallkill Valley Regional High School.
    “Respectfully, I would ask that the public refrain from rushing to judgement until the district can complete its investigation.”
    Michael Cherenson, spokesman for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, or NJSIAA, said the organization has been in touch with both schools and officials and has asked them to submit incident reports.
    The NJSIAA has also notified the Division on Civil Rights and will keep them apprised as information becomes available, according to Cherenson.
    “Upon receipt of the reports, we will determine if additional actions are required.”
    Nasir's father ejected from gameStefanie said that toward the end of the game that night, her husband stood up to applaud her son for scoring 20 points despite the “hostile environment,” and as he stood, the crowd supporting Wallkill Valley stuck their middle fingers up and continued shouting racial slurs, now directed towards Nasir's father.
    She says her husband stuck up his middle finger back and as he sat back down, Superintendent Carr and an armed security guard “aggressively ran up the bleachers.”
    According to Stefanie, Carr told her husband to “get out,” to which her husband replied, “Why? I'm a parent. Who do you think you're talking to like that? You don't hear them over there, you don't see them over there?”
    She said Carr told her husband to “get up and get out or you will be arrested.” He was ejected from the game and escorted to the front door of the building by the security guard.
    “My husband felt threatened, disrespected, bullied, singled out because of his color and embarrassed,” Stefanie said. “Meanwhile the racial slurs continued.”
    Following the game, Stefanie said that as the rest of her family walked out of the school, a few students yelled, “You don't belong here,” in front of the same security guard. She said she told the guard to “control those kids,” to which the guard said, “Why are you still here? They are under control.”
    “What happened to our son at Wallkill Valley Regional High School was very disturbing,” Stefanie said. “How can this school system allow such hatred at a High School basketball game and do absolutely nothing about it!
    “We are not the only people who witnessed this behavior,” she continued. “Multiple parents as well as students did. This is not speculation!! It is our duty as parents to make sure this doesn't happen to somebody else's child and family!!”
    Stephanie told The Sparta Independent her family is planning to take legal action against Wallkill Valley Regional High School.
    Wallkill Valley defeated Lenape Valley, 51-39, and Nasir Dickerson led all scorers with 20 points.
    Assemblyman voices support Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) issued a statement regarding the game:
    “It is all too obvious that the racial climate in this country is becoming one in which people think that hurling racial slurs, hanging nooses and making obscene gestures towards others are acceptable,” he said. “Well, it's not.
    “This type of behavior is wrong and cannot be tolerated,” Wimberly continued. “Too many people have fought and sacrificed their careers, families and in some cases, their lives, to ensure that people of all races and ethnicities are treated civilly and fairly.
    “As a high school football coach, I can attest to the fact that stories such as the one reported at Wallkill Valley Regional High School are not isolated,” he said. “They happen more than people realize which is why this incident must be investigated and if it is proven that it happened, those who allowed it should be punished.”