Beaverton investigating coach for alleged use of racial slur
The evening of July 20 began lighthearted and celebratory at the Beaverton High School softball field. After wrapping up their last practice of the season, members of the Beaverton School District girls' softball team decided to take advantage of the end-of-practice high by kicking back and playing music as they waited for their parents to pick them up.
One of the girls was playing music from her Apple Watch when a song with several expletives and curse words started playing. She quickly scrambled to switch it to a Shakira song.
Soon after, a man the girls had never seen before entered the dugout.
"I felt like he was a parent, I guess, he walked in so confidently, and then he asked if there's any adults," said a 15-year-old member of the team who asked to be referred to as "Y." Y wasn't the one playing the music, but she said she was in the dugout when Boyer approached.
Y would realize soon after that the man who approached wasn't a parent, but Beaverton's Bob Boyer, who has been a football coach at the school for more than two decades.
Boyer started berating the girls about the volume of their music and quoted some of the lyrics, including the n-word, she said.
"And I said you shouldn't say the n-word. You are not a Black person, you are white," said Y, who said she is a person of color.
Boyer soon got more defensive and angry, Y said. He questioned her on why he couldn't say the word, since he was quoting the song.
Y said one of her coaches, who is white, eventually noticed there was a conflict and approached them. The shift in mood was palpable.
"(My coach) came over and he's like, 'Oh, what's the problem?' and then right then and there you could see his attitude and his aggression went away," Y said. "I guess I don't know if it was because he was a man talking to another man. But then I asked (Boyer) to leave because I didn't feel very comfortable or safe, and he told me that I had an 'attitude.'"
Y ended up leaving the dugout angry and frustrated. When she told her parents what happened, her mother drafted an email to the district and sent it the following weekend.
The Beaverton School District superintendent told both Y's mother and Pamplin Media Group that the district is investigating the incident.
"Our principal, executive director of secondary high schools, human resource director, and legal counsel will be assisting in the investigation," Superintendent Don Grotting said.
Pamplin Media Group reached out to Boyer for an interview, but he deferred all questions to the Beaverton School District's communications team.
Y's mother said as a woman of color, she is no stranger to dealing with racist behavior, and unfortunately her daughter has not been shielded either. She also asked to not have her name used to keep her daughter safe.
"I have to say this one really tops, but we're very vigilant and aware because of who we are, because of our identities, and the work that I do, so I think (my daughter) has been exposed to that as well," she said.
Y's mother said she is so far happy with the district's response. .
"I know that the superintendent is very much in support of critical race theory and anti-racism, so I trust he is doing well by this report and there will be follow-through," she said.
Y's mother said she had a meeting with Beaverton High School Principal Anne Erwin to discuss the incident as well.
In an email to the school district, Y's mother said she would like Boyer to apologize to her daughter and the rest of the team.
"For the healing to begin, Coach Boyer needs to take accountability for his actions. He should publicly apologize to the young women for the harm he caused and commit to attend training to do the internal work to dismantle white supremacy," she wrote.
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