A South Dakota high school has forfeited its homecoming football game against a school from a nearby American Indian reservation and has cancelled its homecoming dance and parade after photos posted on social media show students destroying an old auto with "Go back to the Rez" painted on the side.
The Meade School Board voted 8-0 on Thursday to cancel all remaining homecoming activities.
A statement from the Meade County Schools superintendent Don Kirkegaard says, "I believe the vehicle was to be used for a non-school sponsored or supported auto bash".
Kirkegaard said a group of Sturgis students painted the exterior of a derelict auto that had been procured by the students for a vehicle bash. He planned to meet with city council members soon to consider the options.
Sturgis Brown High School and Meade County School District officials are issuing a formal apology after racist and derogatory comments surfaced on social media following a homecoming tradition.
A photo shows people hitting a vehicle with sledgehammers. However, school officials are still considering whether the game should take place. "There was no value to us doing that", he said. He said there already have been some student suspensions. The auto bash had been a homecoming week tradition for many years, but about six years ago, school officials halted the event. "I can't make light of the fact it never should have happened".
Sturgis was scheduled to play neighboring Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the homecoming football game. This includes the football game, parade and homecoming dance.
A photo also shows people hitting a vehicle with sledgehammers. "Because of the angst we feel, we are reaching out to the Pine Ridge School, community, and families, as well as all schools in the state of South Dakota to apologize and to encourage more cultural awareness", said the statement. In yet another case those who can not defend themselves were attacked by those did not know better, all the while being watched by those who do nothing to stop it. There are many Native Americans in many schools. We understand the anger being expressed towards this situation.
Said the student council: "Everyone deserves the highest amount of respect; racism is not something that should have to be tolerated by anyone". "We are appalled and disgusted by the racist comments that appeared on social media". He said the district is working with police to determine who was responsible.
"That's my goal", said Kirkegaard.
"We didn't want to potentially escalate anything", he said.
In a letter, the Meade School district staff apologized for the students' behavior, stating that the district doesn't "support, teach nor endorse the inappropriate behaviors and actions that occurred Wednesday evening". "I've heard from people in the community".
"We are disappointed in the actions of our students".
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The individual was conscious with non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to the Royal Alexandra Hospital and treated. According to an RCMP news release issued Friday, officers nabbed the suspect when he got out a auto which had become stuck.