A new set of allegations involving racial abuse and bullying have come to light following the news last week that Mount Douglas secondary had temporarily suspended its football program this spring due to an incident that left one player’s gear soaked in urine.
School principal Shawn Boulding called the incident the last straw – with it resulting in the temporary suspension of the two offending players from school and shutting down the program in its entirety for more than 10 days during the recent spring training season.
However, an anonymous source associated with the team has since come forward to the Saanich News saying the issue of bullying and harassment goes back years, including racial slurs and a code of silence.
“It’s pathetic that the administration did absolutely nothing after the urine incident… [The principal] shying away from [the word ‘bullying’] is [BS], this is complete and textbook bullying,” said the source, adding it was not uncommon to find water bottles filled with urine around the locker room.
“In the past there has been bottles of urine in the cave, but [they’d mostly] cleared them out.”
It was also learned that the Rams held a healing circle in May, to deal with what the source said was a “bullying” issue.
“During the time when we would have normally been practising, we spent that time with [principal Shawn Boulding] working with our players in firstly a healing circle, followed up by educational sessions and presentations including leadership, honesty, respect, behaviour and how to respond appropriately,” said Rams coach Mark Townsend. “We have already seen positive changes, and I am confident our program will emerge stronger than ever through this productive pain.”
But the source said the code of silence is too strong.
“Coaches and [school administration don’t know] what happens away from the field,” said the source, adding the victim of the urine prank likely followed the code in accepting the incident was a prank gone awry.
The source also said the team’s locker room, an underground dugout known as ‘the cave,’ is an area unsupervised by adults and suggested it’s long been a place where abusive hazing incidents go unchecked.
“To this point we have not had complaints about racism within the football program,” said Townsend, adding the current allegations have not been brought forward to school administration. “Certainly we have not personally witnessed any such incidents, and the claims … are extremely disconcerting and very troubling.
“The school and the football program take any issue of inappropriate conduct extremely seriously. We have a zero tolerance policy with anything of this nature, but we cannot do anything if the concern has not been brought forward to us.
“As I said, we are working with our student athletes and have seen improvement already. I am confident we will emerge a stronger program through the efforts of our coaching staff and school administration.”