NINNEKAH — “We believe you girls.”

That was a statement one commenter made during the Ninnekah Board of Education's board meeting last week, and that commenter was one of many people at the board meeting with a similar thought. Many of the supporters wore black T-shirts with white letters stating “I believe you.”

Members of the community and former girls basketball players had time to speak to the school board about ongoing allegations in the school district. Ron Akins — former basketball coach and teacher at Ninnekah — was recently arrested on charges of rape by instrumentation and sexual battery.

Along with showing up to speak and show their support, speakers also showed encouragement.

“Girls, I believe you a hundred percent,” one commenter said. “Please, please speak up.”

One former basketball player and student for Ninnekah gave appreciation to the crowd for coming out to show support.

“I speak for my fellow Lady Owls — past and present — when I say how much we appreciate everyone’s support in this,” she said.

Other former players spoke to the school board during the meeting.

“We were impressionable children with a love of the game, not promiscuous girls looking for attention. All we wanted was to play basketball,” a former player told the school board.

Another former player gave her thoughts.

“We should have been taken seriously,” she said. “Appropriate actions should have been taken, and they weren’t.”

The same player who gave appreciation to the community earlier in her speech ended her speech with a question.

“Do you hear us now?” she asked.

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