Skaneateles athlete charges racism on Martin Luther King Day

Priscilla Gayle and son Khiary Gayle.

The mother of Skaneateles High School student and athlete Khiary Gayle has filed complaints on his behalf with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the New York State Division of Human rights.

In the complaint, Khiary Gayle refers to racial discrimination toward him that took place during the football season and also kept him off the high school basketball team. Gayle says he was one of three black athletes who moved into the school district during the 2010-2011 school year and joined the football team. His residency was investigated. In his statement Gayle said, "I felt the investigation had to do with me being black." He said the residency was not questioned for the one white player who transferred into the district.

Gayle attempted to make the basketball team late in the fall. He describes how he played basketball since he was eight years old and was named to All-Star teams along the way. Gayle played for the JV team and an AAU team while he attended Bishop Ludden High School. After trying out, Khiary Gayle said Skaneateles basketball coach Karl Norris told him, "you're already a senior and you didn't grow up here, this team is about home-grown players."

Gayle concludes his statement where he said, "This experience has been demoralizing, and I feel that if I had been white, I would not have been cut from the team." He also feels there is a "good deal of racial tension in the school."

Priscilla Gayle also gave a detailed statement in the complaints.

"I don't know why he couldn't be on the team except for the fact that Coach Norris decided that he didn't want a black person on the team. He went so far as to tell my son he wouldn't play him," said Priscilla Gayle in an interview on Monday. Gayle also said she didn't understand why it was necessary to cut anyone from the team instead of letting all 13 students practice and be part of the team.

Priscilla Gayle mailed the complaints on Martin Luther King Jr. day to show that racial discrimination can still be a barrier.

"Things are still happening today - on a day like today and we need to still look at some issues in our society," said Gayle.

Mrs. Gayle did bring up the issues with Skaneateles Athletic Director Stacey Tice, but thought pursuing the matter further through her would be futile. She said, "Since my son has been in the District, I do not feel they have been treating him fairly."


Skaneateles football team

had its undefeated season suspended during the state playoffs over allegations of recruiting infractions. Former NFL football star Tim Green resigned as coach during the controversy.

Our calls to the Skaneateles School Superintendent were not returned. The school will likely receive the complaint later this week.

Read Federal complaint here. Read New York State complaint here.