C-Falls High School apologizes, dismisses PA announcer after incident

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COLUMBIA FALLS — Columbia Falls High School has dismissed its public address announcer following an incident at a girls’ basketball between Browning and the host WildKats on Thursday.

In a letter dated Jan. 17, Columbia Falls principal Scott Gaiser told Browning superintendent Corrina Guardipee-Hall of the dismissal and apologized.

The unnamed announcer introduced the starting lineup for the Browning “Lazy Indians,” instead of Lady Indians.

“Though he was acting on his own, we understand that the word the announcer used reflects poorly on our school and community,” Gaiser wrote. “We are extremely embarrassed and remorseful.

“Following the game the individual directly apologized to Browning High School’s head girls basketball coach, Raymond Augare. He stated that his use of the word “lazy”… was an unintended blunder and then takes responsibility for his actions.”

The letter went onto explain that despite the intent, the individual has been terminated from all future activities at Columbia Falls High School.

The incident comes less than a year after a Columbia Falls fan held a sign that read, “FTI” at a division tournament game against Browning. That led to an outreach by the Columbia Falls girls’ basketball team, which stopped by Browning High School on its way to state.

Gaiser referenced that incident in his letter.

“In light of an incident last year, we recognize that there is a great deal of work to be done to reestablish your trust and continue the positive relationship with the students and staff at Browning High School that we have enjoyed for many years,” he wrote.

Guardipee-Hall acknowledged the apology in a letter dated Jan. 18 to Browning’s school board, staff and community.

“As highly inappropriate, insensitive and inexcusable as the incident was in Columbia Falls, we want to ensure that we rise above this and commit to showing… the upmost of our respect, civility and sportsmanship today because that’s who we are!” Guardipee-Hall wrote.

“We want to keep our focus on the youth and continue being positive role models for our students.”

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