KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Richmond, Missouri, School District is apologizing after one of its students yelled racial slurs at Paseo Academy basketball players.

Paseo staff called off the game Tuesday night and took their players home.

“I felt upset because I’m Black, too, you know, and that is going on. It’s not right to us at all,” said LaBrenda Rolland, a student at Paseo Academy.

Students from Paseo Academy were preparing for an away basketball game. Before they even got off the bus, they were met with racist and derogatory comments from a Richmond student.

An administrator made the immediate call, their players would not take the court.

In a statement, KCPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Collier says, “While I’m saddened by this incident, I am proud of the way our student-scholars handled themselves.

Collier went onto say, “This is indeed a sobering moment, but it is a moment in time where we must take steps to disrupt racist ideologies and behaviors and take collective action against systemic racism in our communities.”

The district has trauma-informed staff available for students.

FOX4 reached out to the Richmond School District. They told FOX4 they’re investigating and they do not condone any form of racism.

They finished with an apology saying, “Our sincerest apologies to the players, families, coaches, and the Paseo Academy community.”

“Just keep your head up stay strong because it’s going to happen all the time,” Rolland said.

“Keep your head up. Don’t let that do you,” said LaBrenda Rolland-Grey, whose granddaughter attends Paseo Academy.

A senior district official tells FOX4 that the hope is that the game can be rescheduled and at that time it would be a home game.

The full letter from KCPS reads:

“Sadly, yesterday on January 17, as our Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts Boys Basketball team was readying to exit the bus for their game against Richmond R-XVI School District, they were faced with racist and derogatory comments from a Richmond student.”

This incident was witnessed by KCPS administration. Racist slurs or epithets are unacceptable and should always be met with a swift and corrective response.

As a result of this incident, our administration made the decision to not play and reschedule the game. I have since spoken with the district’s Superintendent, who released a statement this morning addressing the student’s inappropriate behavior.”

KCPS has always drawn strength from diversity and welcomes students from every walk of life to build an educational system that is inclusive of everyone. While I’m saddened by this incident, I am proud of the way our student-scholars handled themselves.

To help students affected by this traumatic event, our trauma-informed staff are present at Paseo and available for any student or staff member needing emotional support.”

This is indeed a sobering moment, but it is a moment in time where we must take steps to disrupt racist ideologies and behaviors and take collective action against systemic racism in our communities. Kansas City Public Schools will continue to be an organization that stands against racism, bias, and hate and will continue the critical work of creating a welcoming and nurturing environment for all students.”

Dr. Jennifer Collier
Interim Superintendent of Schools

The statement from Richmond School District reads:

“On January 17, Richmond High School administration received an allegation that a Richmond High School student used a racial slur in the midst of a group of students from Paseo Academy of Fine & Performing Arts. The Richmond R-XVI School District does not condone or tolerate the use of any type of derogatory terms or racial slurs in any form or context.”

“The allegation has been investigated by the school administration. While we are unable to comment on individual students and consequences – this matter is not taken lightly.”

“Richmond High School faculty and staff do not condone any form of racism. Our diverse student body and community believe that harmony and respect start with each of us. This type of language has no place in our school or our community. Please do not measure the character of our students or school through this one action. Young people make mistakes – as do we all. Our daily choices can either build or undermine unity. It is important that we learn from these mistakes and let lessons learned shape our character.”

“This incident demonstrates our need to continue our efforts to foster an inclusive and safe environment. We recognize work remains in this area and pledge to dedicate resources, staff, and training to foster an environment that promotes the safety and welfare of our entire school community.”

“Our sincerest apologies to the players, families, coaches, and the Paseo Academy community.”

Richmond R-XVI Administrative Team