Interview with FOX 4 Gets Disabled School Volunteer Banned from Campus
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A disabled man who volunteers at Northeast High School was told he’s no longer welcome on campus because of an interview he did with FOX 4 near school property without permission.
On Monday, FOX 4 met Monger at Northeast High to do a feel-good story about his volunteerism at the school — and how he’s working to raise money to buy a wheelchair lift for his car to make it easier for him to get to and from school.
But the principal wasn’t happy with that interview and sent a letter telling Monger he’s no longer welcome back at Northeast.
It was devastating news for Monger.
“The kids accept me and love me, and I have the time of my life,” he said. “I could sit at home, twiddle my thumbs, feel sorry for myself, but why should I do what when I still have something to give?”
Kent has the type of community spirit you’d think most schools would welcome, and that’s why what happened next was so surprising.
During Monday’s interview, security requested Monger and FOX 4 crews to move across the street, arguing the sidewalk was school property.
Thursday, when Monger came to volunteer at Northeast, he was handed a letter from principal Dr. Michael Burns, relieving Monger of his volunteering duties at Northeast.
The letter from the principal specifically said “unauthorized use of television media on school property.” But Monger and FOX 4 crews were never on school property. They were on a public sidewalk. A letter from FOX 4′s lawyer said FOX 4 crews had every right to do their job on a public sidewalk.
“I’m sorry he thinks I did something wrong, but there’s no truth to that,” Monger said.
The letter also stated, “Your actions may result in yet-to-be-determined damage to the image of Northeast High School.”
“You got to be joking,” Monger said. “Anybody who knows me or friends with me all my life knows I’m a true viking and a true viking would never go against Northeast, never.
When FOX 4′s Tess Koppelman reached out to Principal Burns, he only referred her to the district’s public information office.
“All I was trying to do was get a power chair lift to make my mobility much better,” Monger said. “That’s it, that’s it.”
The good news is that late Thursday afternoon, the Kansas City Missouri School District decided that Principal Burns had over-reacted by banning Monger from the school.
The district’s statement apologized to Monger, stating:
“Volunteer Kenneth Monger will be reinstated as a volunteer at Northeast High School, effective immediately.
It is the hope of KCPS that Mr. Monger will continue his efforts at Northeast High. The letter issued to Mr. Monger has been rescinded. KCPS sincerely apologizes for any misunderstanding the letter may have caused Mr. Monger.
KCPS respects and values its more than 800 volunteer groups and individuals. For more information, please visit www.kcpublicschools.org.”
Monger is excited and plans to go to the Northeast football game Thursday night to cheer on his alma mater.