School starts this week for Alpine, Provo and Nebo districts 03

A student walks away from Mountain View High School in Orem after the first day of school for the Alpine School District on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

The Alpine School District and Mountain View High School are facing a federal investigation over alleged discrimination against students on the school’s football team due to their race, color and/or nationality.

The complaints were filed to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights on Nov. 12, 2020, and an investigation will follow.

A report from ABC 4 revealed the filing of the complaints that involve treating white students differently than athletes of color, failing to address a racially hostile environment, and retaliating against the complainants.

For the allegations of treating white students differently than athletes of color, the complaints include not providing athletes of color with comparable coaching, not allowing athletes of color the chance to compete for starting or playing roles, not giving equal playing time, teaching plays to white players first, not learning the names of athletes of color, not allowing athletes of color to play multiple positions, and more.

In failing to address the racially hostile environment, the claims include not addressing incidents of racial harassment, protecting white families and coaches, allowing coaches of color to be harassed and assaulted, and completing a biased and incomplete investigation among others.

The retaliation allegedly included interfering with the transfer requests of one athlete involved, withholding an award promised to one athlete, prohibiting a complainant from volunteering at games, and criticizing complainants with staff and community members.

“The OCR has opened an investigation in response to complaints made by certain parents relating to the Mountain View High School football team,” a statement from the Alpine School District read. “Alpine School District is cooperating with the investigation, which is in its early stages. Alpine School District denies that the complaints have merit. The District has no other comments to make on the investigation.”

The allegations listed were brought up with the Alpine School District and were filed with the Office for Civil Rights at least 60 days after. The OCR will now act as a neutral factfinder, according to the filing documents, that will collect and analyze relevant evidence.

Some of the allegations were dismissed in the filings as well. The first involved allegations that the school prohibited spectators from attending practices, performances, and events but the action coincided with high school activities being allowed to continue through the COVID-19 pandemic without fans.

Another listed retaliation by not allowing the complainants to speak with members of the Alpine School District Board of Education individually. This was done to keep the board impartial for the hearing, which was granted by the board at the complainant’s request.

The final dismissal involves the complaints being determined as unsubstantiated being seen as an act of retaliation. The district was required to issue a determination on the complaints but the allegations of a bias and flawed investigation will still be investigated by the OCR.

The investigation will follow and if a violation is found an attempted remedy will be negotiated and if one cannot be found, then federal funds may be taken from the Alpine School District.