The principal of Vista High on Thursday announced the cancellation of Friday’s extracurricular activities and the cancellation of Friday’s college football game following protests on campus.
“…has made the difficult decision to cancel Friday’s college football game as a result of the behavior at last night’s protest,” Principal David Jaffe said in a statement sent to families.
Tempers boiled on Wednesday as students at Vista High School rallied in response to an alleged locker room assault involving football players that resulted in suspensions and disciplinary action for some coaches, and was followed by a threat shooting at school by a player accused of the assault.
At Wednesday’s protest, tempers almost boiled over when a driver, who witnesses described as a football player, pulled into the school parking lot near the protest. The crowd of protesters quickly surrounded his car and appeared to hit or kick his vehicle as he remained inside.
In a letter to parents acknowledging the protest, Principal Jaffe said there would be an increased law enforcement presence on campus through the end of the week.
Principal Jaffe said while working in consultation with a third-party investigator and the Vista Sheriff’s Department, the school continues to investigate the protest incident, the disturbing social media posts about the school security issues and the locker room incident.
“This will continue in the coming days,” Jaffe said in the statement.
Deputies are investigating an altercation in the locker room and a shooting threat made against the campus.
Footage of the alleged assault, which happened around two weeks ago, circulated on social media and led to rumors spreading through the school community. It shows student-athletes picking up a 14-year-old and carrying him to a room in the locker room and pushing him to the ground.
The locker room incident was first reported to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department as a sexual assault, according to the department, but deputies say the alleged victim, a freshman, never made sexual assault claim.
The college head coach has been placed on leave while the SDSO, Vista Unified School District and a third-party investigator investigate the incident, according to Superintendent Matt Doyle. A first-year coach who was responsible for overseeing players in the locker room has been fired, Doyle added.
Doyle told NBC 7 that three players have been kicked from the team, suspended from campus and could face expulsion for their role in the alleged assault, but the punishment was not enough for the students and parents who got involved. gathered in front of the school on Wednesday evening.
“That’s wrong. There shouldn’t be a football team anymore,” parent Lupe Trejo told NBC 7. “No more playing football for a while to teach them a lesson.
The deputies were on duty at the school on Wednesday in response to a shooting threat that surfaced on social media on Tuesday evening. Deputies confirmed the post included pictures of one of the disciplined students with a gun and threatening captions.
A post includes the caption “No face no case” over a photo of the student wearing a black mask and a backwards baseball cap. Another shows him with what appears to be a handgun in his lap. The third photo is the mask with the caption: “I’m thinking of shooting a guy”, and the caption for the fourth photo reads: “I can show you that I shoot someone in the head”.
Deputies determined the shooting threat was not credible, in part because they could not determine whether the student in the photos was the one who posted the message or added the captions, according to Superintendent Matt Doyle. Investigators were also unable to determine if the handgun appearing in the photos was real. This explanation was not enough to allay the concerns of some parents.
“We want more safety for our students and our family members because it’s not safe,” Karla Gonzalez said at the protest. “We want the victim to know that we are there and supporting them and we don’t want that to happen to anyone.”
NBC 7’s Dave Summers shares the latest twist on an incident allegedly involving Vista High School football players.
The superintendent canceled Wednesday night’s back-to-school party and said it would be rescheduled. The campus will be closed at 4 p.m. Friday, the principal said and asked all staff and students to leave at that time.