A Minnesota high school basketball coach is resigning after a player found a racist note in her gym bag, according to KSTP. "Get off our team, monkey," the note reads. The message was allegedly inside sophomore Achai Deng's bag.
“It’s sad that I should not have to feel pain to the fact that they call me a monkey other than the fact that they disrespect me,” Deng told reporters. "A lot of Black people can say they got used to racism. It just doesn’t phase them. It’s like an everyday thing."
This is the latest in a string of racist incidents at Prior Lake High School, and the final straw for girls' basketball coach Demondi Jackson. Jackson announced their resignation on February 23, per The Grio:
"I will never sit down to racism and will always stand up for those who look like me," Johnson said. "I hope that those involved can be educated, be held accountable, heal their hearts of hatred, and learn to love those who look different from them."
Reporters say the team's season has also been canceled in response to the unsettling incident. The school says it's also investigating. Prior Lake administrators and the girls' basketball coaching staff also sent an email to families, reading in part:
"We are deeply saddened and distraught over yet another racial incident that occurred within the PLHS community. Our hearts go out to the victim, her family, and all of our BIPOC students and athletes as we continue to work toward an environment of equity and inclusion."
Just last year, the high school made headlines after a viral video showed two students using racial slurs against a Black student. Protests on campus and in downtown Minneapolis ensued.
This problem isn't exclusive to Prior Lake. Earlier this month, nearby New Prague High School made headlines after a hockey player hurled racist remarks and monkey sounds at an opposing player, according to KSTP. Similar actions were reported the same day during a girls basketball game with Robbinsdale, where Black student-athletes heard monkey sounds from the stands.
The Minnesota State High School League announced an initiative on February 24, which aims to develop a code of conduct, raise awareness around race and gender-based bullying, and create best practices to stop these behaviors.
"Mistreatment of anyone on any basis is not only intolerable, it is something we, as educational leaders, unequivocally condemn," according to the league's statement. "Racial, religious, or sexual harassment is simply unacceptable in our schools."
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.