Elkhart coach suspended for telling players not to "act black"

An Elkhart middle school basketball coach has been suspended for telling her team not to “act black.”

Although it’s not yet known if, or when, she’ll return to coaching, she has remained on the job as a teacher at Northside Middle School.

Vicki Rogers has worked for the Elkhart Community Schools for 30 years.

Until mid-January, she was the girl’s basketball coach at Northside.

“There’s still some discrepancy as to what the words actually were. It was something along the lines of ‘don’t behave like other girls that might be at another school’ and the way that was said didn’t go over very well,” said Dr. Robert Woods, Director of Business Operations for the Elkhart Community Schools.

Dr. Woods says that Rogers wanted her players to be on their best behavior because they were going to go out for pizza with some high school students.

“And she chose to use some words that we didn’t approve of in trying to get the girls to behave themselves,” said Dr. Woods. “Poor choice of words, the intent was well meant.”

“It was really out of bounds because when you’re dealing with students and especially athletes, I mean, they take to heart what you say and to say, talk about ghetto or don’t act like black kids, that’s very inappropriate to use,” said Ron Davis, Director of the Elkhart County NAACP.

According to Dr. Woods, Rogers has since completed sensitivity training from the Elkhart Human Relations Commission. “All indications are she was very involved in that and committed to it and so now we have that, we’ll get together and decide what the next step will be.”

“Due process, that’s the America way and I think they did the right thing to investigate and she admitted that she said it, she didn’t try to lie out of it or anything so that, I guess, that could be in her favor,” said Ron Davis. “She was apologetic about it, but still, the damage is done.”