Johnson County Parish School investigates racist post


A parish school in Lenexa has opened an investigation into a racist social media post involving one of its students, the principal said over the weekend.

Director of St. James Academy Shane Rapp said in a message to families: “We are aware of an offensive post on social media that included an AJS student. Racism in all its forms is an attack on human dignity.

“The post included a sign of an explicitly racist nature. ”

Some parents told The Star they believed it was the same social media post being investigated by the Olathe School District, after a student at Olathe South High School asked someone to come home using a racist sign. A photo of a white boy and girl holding the sign began circulating online over the weekend, sparking widespread outrage.

The sign says, “If I were black I would choose cotton, but I am white, so I choose you for HOCO.” “

St. James has yet to confirm that authorities are investigating the incident. Rapp did not immediately return The Star’s request for information on Monday.

In his post, he wrote: “We are currently investigating the situation to determine the appropriate next steps. “

“Our Catholic faith demands that we see ourselves with the dignity due to the sons and daughters of God: ‘Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy equal dignity.

“Racism in all its forms is an attack on this dignity. We ask you to have a conversation with your children this weekend about the importance of seeing each individual as their neighbor and as a brother or sister in Christ as we prayerfully discern how best to deal with the current situation. .

In Olathe, district officials said they were continuing to investigate the racist back-to-basics sign. In a letter to parents, Dale Longenecker, principal of Olathe South, said the school was making efforts to contact everyone involved, including guardians of students carrying the sign.

“The type of behavior displayed in the social media post does not meet the expectations of our core values. Any behavior like this will be immediately addressed in accordance with our code of student conduct, ”he wrote in the letter.

Meanwhile, Park Hill School District officials continue to investigate a racist petition calling for a return to slavery, which was posted online by students at Park Hill South High School.

These are the latest in a string of racist incidents at Kansas City-area schools in recent months.

In July, the Lee’s Summit school board reinstated a teacher and coach, going against the superintendent’s recommendation that he be fired after using a racial slur. Around the same time, a science teacher at Harrisonville High School was fired by the school board after being accused of making several inappropriate and racist comments.

Last 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 slurs on a player. black.

And in April, Pembroke Hill school officials launched an investigation to find out who wrote “KKK” on the side of a student desk – months after a swastika was discovered in a classroom. class on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Includes reporting by Anna Spoerre from The Star.

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Sarah Ritter covers K-12 education for The Kansas City Star. Formerly a reporter for the Quad-City Times, Sarah is a graduate of Augustana College.

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