Valley students will face punishment for racial taunts

Posted at 8:28 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 22:35:19-05

Mesa students will be disciplined for mocking an opposing basketball player's race, according to school officials.

Red Mountain High School students were caught on video beating their chests and making monkey sounds while Saikou Gueye, a forward from Glendale's Mountain Ridge High School, was on the basketball court Friday. Gueye says he saw what the kids were doing, but he chose to take the high ground.

"If you do react, it's just going to get bigger," Gueye said. "It's just going to get worse and worse. You just can't do anything about it. You just have to move on and look past it."


Red Mountain's principal witnessed some of the bad behavior and immediately removed one of the students from the stands. Gueye's coach learned about it after game.

"I was shocked and saddened," Coach Eli Lopez said. "Sometimes the worst in people comes out in an emotional game."

Gueye, 17, is one of the best high school basketball players in Arizona. He is being recruited by multiple colleges. Mountain Ridge defeated Red Mountain to clinch a 5A playoff slot.  After the game, Red Mountain's coach called Gueye to apologize.

"He said that's not how the Red Mountain spirit is, and I believe him," Gueye said.

Red Mountain's principal sent a letter to families Monday saying "blatant disrespect for others will never be tolerated."

The letter says Principal Jared Ryan has reviewed video and talked to witnesses, and "all students involved... now face school disciplinary action."

"I think pretty much everyone should realize now this kind of stuff shouldn't be happening," Gueye said. "I don't think it will happen anymore."