HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - There's growing reaction surrounding the future of Short Pump Middle Schools' football team. Friday, the Henrico School Board announced - as a result of an explicit video captured in the school's locker room - players will have to forfeit the rest of the season.
"I don't know why they're punishing us," one of the players said.
NBC12 interviewed one of the players who just learned the news. His mother asked that he not be identified.
"As a player that didn't have anything to do with it, it's kind of a kick in the gut," he said.
He's referring to the racist video NBC12 was the first to tell you about. Inappropriate behavior in the locker room showcased sexual and racist activity that now has Henrico Police investigating.
In an open letter to the community, the Henrico School board says, "There is no place in HCPS for the kind of behavior portrayed in the video."
Some parents are concerned about how they learned about the incident.
"I learned about it when one of my friends saw your news piece and called me," a parent said, whose son plays on the team.
She says school leaders met with the players and their parents Friday afternoon, one week after the incident and two days after NBC12 brought light to the situation.
"As a parent of a middle schooler, any child, that is not something you want to hear about via rumor mill…The school definitely could have sent an email out saying there is an incident, just to give us a heads up, but to find out about this via a phone call from a neighbor is unacceptable," she added.
As community groups call on a federal investigation, a school staff member is wondering how this could ever happen.
"Every time there's boys in the locker room, there's always an adult in the locker room. That's a requirement," the staff member said.
Now an entire team is paying the price.
"It was a horrible decision made by middle school kids, and kids make mistakes, but they shouldn't happen like this," the player added.
The school board says it will open up a dialogue with students, parents, and school staff to give input into an action plan to avoid ending up here again.
Here is the full letter from the Henrico County School Board sent out to the community:
A Short Pump student posted the video on Snapchat. It shows football players from Short Pump Middle School simulating sex acts with black players on the ground and other students on top.
Mental health advocates are calling for the children involved to get help for the trauma, and the NAACP is calling for criminal charges.
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