‘Devalues their humanity’: Kansas City mayor decries racist sign, petition at area schools

·2 min read

The Kansas City mayor reacted on Twitter Tuesday morning to recent racist incidents at area schools, saying more critical teaching of race in schools is needed.

“With another racism scandal at an area school each week, it is abundantly clear that rather than removing race from education and marginalizing the history of all people in our region, we need critically to empower our students to fight and call out racism,” Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote on Twitter.

A photo circulated over the weekend of a male Olathe South High School student asking a female St. James Academy student to homecoming with a racist sign that read: “If I was Black I would be picking cotton but I’m white so I’m picking you for HOCO.”

The principals of both schools said they are investigating the incident, which drew outrage over the weekend.

“Just imagine you’re a Black child in that school. A Black parent who worked hard to get out there so your children could get a “good” education, but afraid it devalues their humanity,” Lucas said.

Earlier this month, a petition calling for a return of slavery was circulated online by students at Park Hill South High School. Members of the public spoke out during a school board meeting days later, calling for action.

“It’d be one thing if it was a one off around here, but sadly it’s not,” Lucas said. “We will look out for these children and their families because none of them should have to confront bigotry walking through the schoolhouse door.”

In July, the Lee’s Summit school board reinstated a teacher and coach, going against the superintendent’s recommendation that he be terminated. While filing a disciplinary report, the teacher repeated a racial slur to a student, who he was writing up for using the slur.

Around the same time, a Harrisonville High School science teacher was fired by the school board after he was accused of making several inappropriate and racist comments.

This past spring, the Olathe school board unanimously agreed to fire Olathe North High School’s head baseball coach Pete Flood after he allegedly used a racial slur toward a Black player.

And in April, Pembroke Hill School officials started an investigation to find out who wrote “KKK” on the side of a student desk — a couple of months after a swastika was found in a classroom on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Star’s Anna Spoerre, Aarón Torres and Sarah Ritter contributed to this story.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting