INDIANAPOLIS — A central Indiana high school is responding to claims of racist behavior at a volleyball match.

New Palestine High School said one student-athlete has been disciplined following a game on Saturday, October 8 against Pike High School.

Pike parent A’lleala Ransome told FOX59 players from New Palestine called Pike players “monkey” during the match, made monkey noises, and said they were willing to “take the issue outside.”

New Palestine leaders investigated the incident by reviewing video from the match and talking to coaches, players, parents, and community members at the event.

“We strive for our student-athletes to represent New Palestine High School and our town with character, commitment, and class. Unfortunately, we fell short of the goal this weekend,” New Palestine said in a statement.

The school said one member of the volleyball team was disciplined but did not release details.

Ransone says she feels the New Palestine team as a whole should face discipline, because the incident is part of an outgoing problem.

“It’s more than just volleyball. My nephew played baseball against New Pal on the same day, and his team was called the N-word the whole game. This is nothing new and has been going on way too long.”

The Indiana High School Athletic Association commissioner released the following statement on the incident.

“The Indiana High School Athletic Association is aware of the incident that occurred during a New Palestine-Pike volleyball match last Saturday. We have been in contact with administrators at both schools, and believe that appropriate disciplinary action and proactive measures to correct unacceptable behavior are underway. As educators, we must use this as teachable moment. It is never appropriate to make fun of, taunt, threaten, or belittle anyone over race, religion, nationality, or any other difference. Instead, those differences are to be respected, celebrated, and championed. We look forward to the day when we do not have to have this type of conversation. Until that day, however, we must continue to educate the young people we serve.”

IHSAA Commissioner Paul Neidig

Another parent of a Pike student-athlete, Lisa Thibault, says she thinks IHSAA needs a more active response.

“IHSAA should have mandatory racism/DEI training for all schools, coaches and anyone who works with an athlete. That training should trickle down to each team – be it a presentation by that school’s AD or coach,” said Thibault. “IHSAA should also have a plan in place where the punishment is clearly stated BEFORE an incident occurs, so all teams and players know the consequence of such behavior.”

According to Ransone, a Perry Meridian player also called Pike players monkey during a JV game on October 4.

“My child’s reaction was frustration and disappointment at both games. She doesn’t understand why the other girls are allowed to get away with what they did. Our girls are worried about reacting to this because they don’t want to be labeled as angry young black women.”