The Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) has turned to the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) for help after reports that varsity players on the Wilcox High School football team yelled homophobic slurs at a male cheerleader on the Wilcox High School cheerleading squad.
“We have been made aware of the allegations and have requested the support of the Santa Clara Police Department to provide an independent investigation of the facts,” said SCUSD Public Information Officer Jennifer Dericco. “At Santa Clara Unified School District, we proactively work to create an environment that embraces diversity and we do not tolerate harassment or bullying of any kind.”
The SCPD received a call from the district Monday afternoon.
“We were notified at about 1 p.m. today that the incident had started over the weekend asking us to look into it,” said SCPD Captain Wahid Kazem.
Investigators immediately went to Wilcox High School to talk to the Principal. Kazem says at this time, it’s hard to know how far the investigation will go.
“The Police Department investigates matters of crime, we don’t conduct an independent investigation of things, that’s not our role,” said Captain Kazem. “We will investigate matters that are violations of the penal code. That’s what we’re going to be looking at. We’re going to be looking at the events that happened and see if there is any crime that occurred.
“If the matters in question don’t rise to the level of crime, then that’s something for the School District to deal with administratively,” Kazem continued. “We’ll definitely look into it until we’re assured that there is no crime.”
So far, there is no timeline for the investigation.
According to a petition posted on Change.org by an anonymous poster, the incident happened on Oct. 18.
“The main purpose of this petition is to call the administration and football coaches to attention, so they can investigate this incident. This sickening incident requires consequences, so it never happens to someone again,” read part of the Change.org petition.
As of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, 1,677 people have signed the petition. Many of them are Wilcox High School graduates who are deeply saddened by the incident.
“As a former WHS cheerleader and Wilcox alum, I find this behavior appalling and completely unacceptable,” Lisa Feller posted on the Change.org petition. “Players represent their school and school community, and apologies aren’t enough. Their behavior, at the very least, should have them sitting out of games. SCUSD needs to seriously look into how they can better foster safe and inclusive spaces for ALL students.”
“I am an alumna of Wilcox, and I do not want to be ashamed of my alma mater. The school and SCUSD need to show that this behavior will not be tolerated!” posted Vanessa Pacheco.
“These football players need to apologize. But first and most, the administration of this school needs to address this issue and hold those players accountable,” posted Nene Mendoza. “This type of bullying and harassment should not be tolerated.”