Last Updated:September 18 @ 09:25 pm

Chanting at Camarillo High basketball game sparks rally, racism concerns

By Ventura County Star

Austin Medeiros said he has always felt an urge to be patriotic. The Camarillo High School student has chanted "USA, USA" after the singing of the national anthem at sporting events and student rallies and worn a U.S. flag bandanna, he said.

With the Rio Mesa High School boys basketball team set to visit Camarillo High on Wednesday night, Medeiros joined three friends in wearing the bandannas to the game. But he and Stefan Valenzuela said their display of patriotism led to their ejection from the game, along with two friends.

The students said they were suspended, which sparked a rally at the school Thursday morning. Camarillo High officials gave a different account, but both sides agreed they learned something about the line between patriotism and racism.

"We've done it always," Medeiros said of wearing the bandannas. "It's something we do. It's the same group of friends. We always talk about it. We're all very patriotic."

The four students wearing the bandannas came to the Scorpion Dome for the JV and varsity rivalry games. Valenzuela said that between the games, an associate principal came over to the stands and warned students not to curse or make racial comments. The school official saw the bandannas and told the four students to remove them or leave, Valenzuela said.

The four went outside, then ran back inside the gym at halftime with their bandannas on and began chanting "USA, USA." The four were ushered out and given five-day suspensions, which were later rescinded, Valenzuela said.

Principal Glenn Lipman, however, said Thursday that the students were not suspended but were asked to leave campus and meet in his office Thursday morning.

Asking the students to remove the bandannas was a precaution, Lipman said. The two high schools have diverse student bodies, Lipman said, and the chant could be interpreted in different ways.

Camarillo High's student population is 47 percent white and 41 percent Hispanic, while Rio Mesa's is 67 percent Hispanic and 22.5 percent white, according to the California Education Department.

News of the incident quickly spread after the game to social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

"To be honest, this is what I wanted to happen," Medeiros said of the attention. "I was texting people from the minute I got suspended to start blowing it up on social networking, email whoever they could, call whoever they could."

More than 100 students gathered Thursday morning in front of the flagpole at Camarillo High wearing patriotic clothing. Lipman directed the students into the gym for a question-and-answer assembly about the incident.

Wearing patriotic clothing is acceptable, Lipman said, but the chanting gave him pause.

"We wanted to make sure (the chant) wasn't racially motivated, and I told the kids I just want to be sensitive to the feelings of everybody," Lipman said. "If we're doing it for patriotism, that's fine. But if we're doing it for something else that's racially motivated, I'm not going to allow that."

Rio Mesa Athletic Director Brian Fitzgerald attended Wednesday's game and said he noticed some Camarillo High students pointing toward the Rio Mesa fan section while chanting "USA, USA."

Fitzgerald acknowledged that in a heated rivalry, students from both sides can push the limit of what's acceptable.

"Are we going crazy about it over here? No, we're not," Fitzgerald said. "As far as crowd control went, I thought the Camarillo administrators did a very good job of trying to keep a lid on something that could have been explosive.

"We had a few kids that we removed from the game who said some inappropriate things. It's always a battle to keep the one-upmanship from happening."

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(c)2013 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)

Visit Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) at www.vcstar.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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31 Comments

  1. galexComment by galex
    February 14, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

    Okay, the last time I checked the state of California was still a member of the United States of America, which means both schools students are considered USA students.
    So where does anybody come off saying that chanting USA USA is racist?
    PC gone wild is all I can say!

    I’m sure glad I don’t live in California.

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    • JimRedComment by JimRed
      February 14, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

      Offensive to Latinos, no doubt. Never minds that judging by their names, the “violaters” have latino roots as well. But then, it is California, where the inmates have been running the asylum for years!

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    • frank9Comment by frank9
      February 14, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

      Here we go again, always expect lots of MSs and PHDs in our schools, but never any common sense. It seems getting an MS or PHD in education fields requires brain washing away any common sense you might have had.

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    • fabianComment by fabian
      February 14, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

      Last time you checked was long time ago.

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    • urnuts2Comment by urnuts2
      February 14, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

      “We had a few kids that we removed from the game who said some inappropriate things”

      Wait one minute, chanting the name of OUR country is inappropriate? Well as a U.S.A. Taxpayer paying your salary is INAPPROPRIATE……

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      February 14, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

      “The four were ushered out and given five-day suspensions, which were later rescinded. . .Principal Glenn Lipman, however, said Thursday that the students were not suspended but were asked to leave campus and meet in his office Thursday morning.”

      So someone is lying, and school records should show whether the boys were actually suspended. The principal needs to clarify the situation because the boys apparently got the idea from someone that they were facing a 5-day suspension, not just being told to exit the gym and go to the principal’s office the next morning.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      February 15, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

      So it is okay to shout USA, USA at the Olympics, but not in our own country? What the heck is that about?

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  2. Ollie_FanComment by Ollie_Fan
    February 14, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

    Nothing to worry about here, just a little re-education and brainwashing going on. You see, if you love your country for what it is, and consider yourself a “Patriot”, you stand in the way of THEIR progress to change who we are, what we are.

    By calling you a “racist”, a term not many honorable people would be proud of, they think you’ll simply back down. I don’t back down anymore. If what I say constitutes me as a racist in your small little world of reality, fine. I am a racist.

    Anyone who knows me knows the truth and the Lord above (who knows my thoughts, reads my comments in forums and messageboards, has listened to my rants in college, the military and elsewhere)counts more in my eyes than any human being, knows the truth.

    So for some lib to label me because they cannot come up with a reasonable argument, they have shown themselves as that very low-information voter that Rush speaks of.

    I am not going to allow them to run me off because I worked my butt off to become an American citizen, and I won’t change easily, if at all.

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    • drsiqueComment by drsique
      February 14, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

      “Wearing patriotic clothing is acceptable, Lipman said, but the chanting gave him pause.”

      Really, Mr. Lipman, then why were they asked to leave in the first place? The article states that the chanting didn’t start until after they returned from their fist eviction. You sir, are a liar and, frankly, a commie SOB. If these were my kids, you would be confronted by me in a highly personal manner, and you would be very unhappy to meet me. Someone needs to take your sorry *** out behind the woodshed and give you a good old American beat down, all while chanting USA! USA! USA !

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  3. 7papa7Comment by 7papa7
    February 14, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

    Maybe they will accuse those who chanted USA, USA will be labeled as terrorists because they love America. My question is why did the school take away their first amendment rights? You don’t give up your Constitutional rights just because you walk on to a school grounds. The principal needs to be disciplined for his very very poor ability to make appropriate decisions. The Constitution is what the determining factor on proper decision making MUST be based on, not some other nonsensical thing.

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    • Le SellersComment by Le Sellers
      February 14, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

      The fact is that one does “give up [his] Constitutional [sic] rights just because [he] walk[s] on to a school grounds” (SCotuS opinions notwithstanding).

      Freedom of expression and freedom of religion, etc., get in the way of the indoctrination that is the heart of the government-run, tax-funded welfare school’s raison d’ĂȘtre.

      When Horace Mann imported the grtf-welfare school model from Prussia in 1852, his purpose was to undermine parental authority, especially the ability (and responsibility) to pass along the religious and moral values the parents hold. Needless to point out just how successful grtf-welfare schools are at their foundational aims.

      Mr. O’bama, will there ever be any Jobs?

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  4. BrokerbobComment by Brokerbob
    February 14, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Californians believe the world is flat and they are at the edge.
    Why?
    Because people are leaving California in droves and they never come back, so they must be falling off the edge of the world.
    CALIFORNIA LOGIC!

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    • coloradonothighComment by coloradonothigh
      February 14, 2013 @ 11:41 pm

      Yes and they are all moving to Colorado and screwing it up.

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    • treehuggerComment by treehugger
      February 15, 2013 @ 10:51 am

      For all of you who don’t know…..California is a ‘sanctuary state’ and we invite the illegals, or excuse me ‘immigrants’ to rside and bring business and crime here in this beautifulo state. We are so accomodating, we now have birthing houses. YES! birthing houses so you can have a US cictizen by birth, leave and come back when they’re 18 to either go to school or maybe even sponsor their parents as citizens. MAN I LOVE THIS SYSTEM!

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  5. jenerseaComment by jenersea
    February 14, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

    The first time the chant USA was used was in a Hockey Game and the Russians never complained about it. I believe they thought it was a great thing that the fans were so behind their country and encouraging them to win. Now its become racist? I am sure La Raza (Tan Klan) would be welcome at the school.

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  6. geoinsdComment by geoinsd
    February 14, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    So, the principal thinks students with surnames VALENZUELA and MEDEIROS are anti-Hispanic by chanting USA? Possible but I doubt it. And when did we start persecuting people over the remote possibility of bad intentions? (I know it has been done for at least the last 20 years but it is getting worse and it is wrong.) We are becoming, or already are, Maoist China. The Chinese had the sense to abandon Maoism. Why the h*ll are we adopting those ways?

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    • drsiqueComment by drsique
      February 14, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

      Take a close look at the photo. A more diverse group of high school kids has never been assembled in the history of man and they are all cheering and enjoying themselves. Probably what got Lipman’s panties in a twist to begin with.

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  7. popeyeComment by popeye
    February 14, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    USA! USA! USA!

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  8. Sheridan CrawfordComment by Sheridan Crawford
    February 14, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

    Lipman – the name says it all – “Lip-service” or perhaps something more…

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  9. Jack ReacherComment by Jack Reacher
    February 14, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

    Hispanics are being led down the wrong path by these liberal democrat agitators. And if they need proof, just look at what all these cries of “racism” have done for the blacks. Nothing but ridicule.

    I have been around Hispanics for most of my life. This is NOT who they are. These ridiculous accusations and whining are not the way Hispanics are. They are being represented by the most reprehensible group of people on the planet; POLITICALLY CORRECT LIBERAL DEMOCRAT BUFFOONS.

    So to my Hispanic friends, be careful who’s wagon you hitch your burro.

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  10. dosee yabiComment by dosee yabi
    February 14, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    Not to mention…it is not Racist…because the USA is not a Race.
    So at most it could be called Nationalism…and since both schools are in the same Country, State…heck, same County…it isn’t even that!
    Will someone please start educating our teachers and principals, etc. No wonder kids don’t learn, they educators are too worried about imagined hand grenades, bubble shooting guns, and Racism where there is none!

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  11. Charles JosephComment by Charles Joseph
    February 14, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

    I served this nation proudly. My father did before me. His father did before him, and his father before him. My grandfather gave his life in defense of the freedoms and values of this great country. I lost my brother and 6 close friends in war. I will shout, scream, whisper, and think, “USA! USA! USA!”

    The thought police are at it again. They have gone amuk. They will now judge intent, not that the chant or patriotic clothing is objectionable, but the possible intent, what a bunch of idiots.

    Not too far from this incident, just a few years ago, groups of Latinos were protesting and waving banners with “Mejico” and chanting slogans against the U.S. La Raca wants California back, though it is not theirs to have back. It was as the spoils of war, granted by Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and paid for by the U.S. when it paid $15M and more than $3 Milto settle US citizens claims against Mexico back in the mid 1800s. This treaty was not only paid with US money but with US heroes lives who beat Mexico and gained at that time a definite border.

    Maybe actual history could be taught to the heads filled with mush in the public school systems of Ventura County, CA. Not revisionist history, but actual history, from men who lived and fought at the time.

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  12. Jack MalottComment by Jack Malott
    February 14, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

    Since when does USA pertain to race. Me thinks the *** principle of this school should go back to school!

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  13. Jack MalottComment by Jack Malott
    February 14, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

    Races of the world, Caucasian, Mongolian and Negroid. Hmm don’t see USA listed!

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  14. Pingback: Chanting at Camarillo High basketball game sparks rally, racism concerns - ALIPAC

  15. wedeyComment by wedey
    February 14, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

    Are we now supposed to be ashamed of America (getting more like Obama everyday). I understand the hispanics were American citizens, so how could they be offended unless they still hold allegiance to their own country. If you can’t embrace being from the USA, then go home. I am sick of all these titles like african – american. My ancesters were from Germany and Ireland and I consider myself totally American.
    What I would like to know is when the world was formed, were the blacks only on the continent of Africa and they slowly migrated to other countries or what.

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  16. braines57Comment by braines57
    February 14, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

    I wish I lived closer to this school, because I would make it a point to attend as many games as possible between now and the end of the school year, wearing a bandana and shouting “USA, USA” at the top of my lungs and I would DARE anyone from the school to try to tell me I couldn’t do this. Guess that’s why I live in TN instead of CA – if one or more of the students started doing something similar at one of our local schools, EVERYONE would participate – adults and students alike – and no “official” would dare to try to stop them – in fact, many would join in. I am reminded of the first baseball game played in NY after 9/11 – if memory serves, the crowd attending that game shouted “USA” for several minutes after the national anthem.

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  17. Ken WhiteComment by Ken White
    February 14, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

    Ya gotta love these kids for dumping the PC **** and being honest about how they feel. Keep it up.

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  18. Wilbor GavinComment by Wilbor Gavin
    February 14, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

    Nice little Anti- American Fascist principle, when is the people of California going to revolt against this Fascist state. Now the words USA! USA! USA, are Racist, in California, sodom and Gomora reborn. What a waste of a beautiful State.a liberal Fascist can turn anything Ugley and Peverted.

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    • aretiredgiComment by aretiredgi
      February 14, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

      Would make one wonder about this principle having some political plans for the near future. Those who can…..do, those who can’t…..teach.

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  19. KAHR50Comment by KAHR50
    February 15, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    Camarillo High’s student population is 47 percent white and 41 percent Hispanic, while Rio Mesa’s is 67 percent Hispanic and 22.5 percent white, according to the California Education Department.

    And this means something because… egad are they implying that 41 percent of Camarillo and 67 percent of Rio Mesa’s students are…. MEXICANS?!

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  20. gnafuComment by gnafu
    February 15, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

    Whoa! One minute here. Latinos came to the U.S.A. to get away from their dictator country. They came here because the opportunities far out-weighed the opportunities in Mexico. Why would Latinos be upset over students chanting U.S.A.?? I think the principal has a problem, not the students.

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