OLATHE, Kansas (KCTV, KSMO) — Olathe North High School’s head baseball coach was placed on administrative leave Friday and could be fired as soon as Monday because of comments to a player the night before that the district calls “totally unacceptable.”
Olathe Public Schools announced the action against coach Pete Flood after the player’s father posted about the incident on Facebook, saying the athletes were in pre-game batting practice Thursday, and his son, who is Black, put on some music.
His post says, in part,” The head coach, Pete Flood, heard the music and came over. He looked my son directly in the eyes and said, ‘We don’t play that ***** music over here. We only play country and rock music.”
The mother and father of that player declined to be interviewed, saying their focus now is on their son, who has final exams, then graduation in just eight days.
KCTV5 reach Flood at his home. He said he wanted to comment, but not yet, then added that the accusation is, in his words, “simply not true.”
By the end of the school day, almost everyone at Olathe North had heard the accusation, and many had strong words.
“He should be fired,” said freshman Carrie Riwa, whose father gave permission for her to comment on camera.
“He should not be a coach,’ said senior Madilyn Reisner, who is 18.
“We are in 2021!” exclaimed mom Melissa Forest
Her daughter sent her the Facebook post about a remark made during pre-game batting practice Thursday night. By that time Forest had already seen it. She reminded her daughter she wasn’t supposed to text in school but understood why her daughter had to get it off her chest.
“My daughter is of mixed race and the allegations of what he did say, it’s very upsetting,” said Forest.
“Especially saying it to a kid,” her daughter, Jayda Freeman, continued. “That’s even more rude and harmful.”
Freeman is a freshman and was one of several students who used the phrase “especially not here.”
“North is known for their diversity and the acceptance of diversity,” remarked Reisner.
“They’re always talking about how we’re a family and how we don’t tolerate that stuff, and everybody needs to be respectful towards each other no matter what color they are,” said Freeman.
“It’s not okay to the people of color, especially when you’re just blurting out the n-word,” said Riwa.
“It’s not right. He needs to be let go,” said Forest. “Because it’s not teaching the right things to the kids, him using that type of language.”
The district agreed. By day’s end, they sent a statement saying they were appalled, had thoroughly investigated the complaint, suspended the coach and recommended he be fired.
The school board has a special meeting Monday morning to vote on that recommendation.
The full school district statement reads as follows:
Statement from the Olathe Public Schools
We are appalled by the remarks made by the Olathe North head baseball coach and have thoroughly investigated the situation. The staff member has been placed on administrative leave and a recommendation for immediate termination has been submitted to the Board of Education. The comments made are absolutely unacceptable. In the Olathe Public Schools, our priority is the well-being of ALL our students. Racist and derogatory statements will never be tolerated. This is not who we are in Olathe. Our focus now is on the support and care of our students.
Should you have any on-going concerns or have need for additional support or resources, our Diversity and Engagement Department is available for staff, students and families. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of Education will meet in a special board meeting on Monday, May 10 at 8:15 a.m. An executive session is planned to discuss non-elected personnel. The meeting will be available via livestream at youtube.com/c/OlathePublicSchools233.
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