CC seeks year off from playing Go-Hawks because of racist fan behavior, considers leaving NEIC

In the wake of racist taunts hurled at a black Charles City baseball player at a regular season game in Waverly, the Charles City Community School District is considering leaving the Northeast Iowa Conference, asked that Waverly-Shell Rock be required to take measurable steps against such behavior and is seeking a year’s break from playing the Go-Hawks.

On Wednesday, Charles City issued the following statement:

The recent information released by an area school district regarding the investigation involving a Charles City student at a summer sporting event lacked the clarity we need and desire. We are eager to see a clear action plan on the part of the involved school district to accept responsibility and ensure students can be kept safe from bigoted and inappropriate behaviors.

We aim to give transparency on how we are responding with our own anti-bias work to address these issues and provide safety for all of our kids at activities. This work has been developed over the past few weeks with the input of our families, students, staff and community members. Below is a summary of the efforts taking place:

  • Charles City is evaluating whether we should continue to remain in the Northeast Iowa Conference. We are convening a task force of district leadership, students, coaches, parents and alumni to evaluate our current membership. If the task force decides we are in an unhealthy partnership, we will pursue alternative conference opportunities. We will have a final recommendation to the school board and community by September 1, 2020.
  • On Tuesday, superintendents of the Northeast Iowa Conference met in an emergency meeting at the request of the Charles City Community Schools and New Hampton Community School. At the meeting, we outlined our expectations moving forward, including the involved school district developing clear, measurable action steps to resolve racism and sportsmanship issues. We insist that the conference hold the district accountable. 

Also included with this request was a one-year, penalty-free moratorium for Charles City refusing to play the involved partner school during the 2020-21 academic year. Charles City leadership also made clear that if these expectations are not met, we will pursue new conference partnerships. 

  • The Iowa High School Athletic Association has received a formal request from the Charles City Community Schools that any postseason play between Charles City and the involved school district occur at a neutral site. 
  • The executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the executive director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union have met with Charles City leadership to use this situation as a catalyst for statewide change. Some ideas discussed are increased education for all fans, active bystander training, postseason accountability for low sportsmanship and an increased obligation by game site administrators to address inappropriate fan behavior. 
  • Charles City will hold our own students to a higher standard of sportsmanship going forward. Anyone not living up to the expectations established by our student leaders this fall will be asked to leave the area of play and experience appropriate consequences. 

Charles City is leading by example, with clear action steps to address critical equity and antiracism issues. We aim to live up to our mission statement: “Regardless of who you are or what your story is, you can learn and be loved here.”