Society

Band Students Disciplined Over 'Racially Insensitive' Fruit Basket (Video)

| by Karin Sun
a high school marching banda high school marching band

Members of a high school marching band was reportedly accused of being "racially insensitive" after they sent a fruit basket to a rival band (video below).

Seven band members at Atascocita High School in Houston are in trouble with school administration after giving a rival high school band a fruit basket as a gift before a varsity football game on Oct. 16, ABC 13 reports.

The gift to the Summer Creek High School band consisted of a decorated Halloween basket containing candy, a small watermelon, coconut, pineapple and watermelon gum.

Although the Atascocita band members reportedly meant their gift to be in the spirit of good sportsmanship, officials in the Humble Independent School District said the fruit basket was racially offensive.

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"Today, school administrators conducted an investigation [into the fruit basket incident] and after considering the totality of the circumstances, determined that the gift was inappropriate and lacked good sportsmanship," district officials said in a statement on Oct. 19.

"Atascocita High School will not tolerate racial insensitivity," the statement added.

The seven band students involved were reportedly shocked and upset over the school district's interpretation of their gift.

"We weren't being racist towards them (Summer Creek)," flute player Carolina Andaverde told ABC Eyewitness News. "If they took it that way, we're sorry. We didn't mean any harm."

Another of the involved students, senior Alyssa Taylor, said: "I'm mixed (race). I don't take offense to that. How can someone else take offense?"

Exchanging gifts with rival high schools before football games is reportedly a time-honored tradition for the Atascocita High marching band. Although the district wouldn't disclose the students' punishment due to privacy laws, the students said they were told on Oct. 19 that they could be suspended or removed from the school band.

"It's just not fair, not fair," said Hector Andaverde, Carolina's father. "They're good kids with good heads on their shoulders."

Atascocita High School is one of six high schools in the Humble Independent School District, which also includes Summer Creek High.

While district officials did not explain the reason why the gift basket was considered racially offensive, demographic data gathered in 2014 and published on the district's website shows that the Summer Creek High student body is 40.9 percent African American and 38.9 percent Hispanic.

Sources: ABC 13/KTRK-TV, Humble ISD Website

Photo Credit: David Tribble/Wikimedia Commons, YouTube Screenshot