KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — About 80 Park Hill High School students have camped out in the school’s upper gym as a protest to the situation from earlier this week in which a staff member used racist language when engaging with a student.
The school’s principal had addressed the situation Wednesday, saying the staff member was placed on leave while the district investigated, and that counseling was being offered to anyone who felt they need it.
“A student used racist, inappropriate language, and then a staff member repeated the same racist, inappropriate language in questioning the student,” Principal Brad Kincheloe said in a statement that was sent out to families. “We are following our policies in handling this staff issue and the student’s discipline.”
Students began their sit-in protest early Thursday morning, but the district said no demands have been made and they don’t know what the students want. They are supervising the students choosing to sit-in in the gym and making sure they are safe, a district spokeswoman said.
UPDATE: Later on Thursday, the Park Hill School District shared the letter that was sent to families.
Dear Park Hill High School families,
Today, while most of our students were in class, we had several dozen students peacefully protesting in our gym who were upset about the incident I shared with you earlier this week.
They shared how they felt about what happened. Some were hurt, some were angry, and many wanted answers about what will happen to the employee and the student involved in the incident.
While I cannot legally share about an employee’s personnel matter or a student’s discipline, I am allowed to share about the process for addressing these things.
During announcements tomorrow morning, I will share with the students that the law requires us to provide due process when we learn that someone might have violated our policies, and this can take some time.
This means that if an employee violates our policies, we must thoroughly investigate and provide opportunities for the employee to be heard. Sometimes, this can even take several weeks.
This also means that if a student violates our policies, we must thoroughly investigate and provide opportunities for the student to be heard. For example, if a student were to get in trouble on a Monday, we cannot expect to know their long-term consequences that same week.
We will continue to work with the students and listen to their concerns while we are investigating this incident.
Thank you for your support of our efforts to make sure Park Hill High School is a safe place to learn.
Park Hill High School