KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Piper High School volleyball players are traumatized after an alleged racist incident Tuesday night during a game at Baldwin High School.
Parents say racial slurs were slung at them from students supporting the opposing team.
“As the African American girls were serving or entering the court, people in the stands were making monkey noses or making racial comments,” said Chante Miller, whose daughters are a freshman and senior volleyball players.
“(They were) told go back to where you came from and monkey, specifically those words,” said Candice Byers who has twin daughters on the team.
Both mothers described the incident as the first time their children have been victims of racism.
It’s something the girls have seen on TV and in the movies but never experienced first hand.
“They are only 15, so they just don’t really understand or know, so they just cried and sobbed,” Byers said. “It was heartbreaking.”
Miller said not only were the Piper players harassed during the game, but the verbal assault from Baldwin students also continued after.
“They followed them out to the bus. She was scared that something was going to happen to them,” Miller said of her youngest daughter. “She didn’t even talk to us. She was really scared. We were really upset that she was put in that position.”
Baldwin High Superintendent Paul Dorathy issued this statement:
“Presently, an investigation by the administrative staff of both Baldwin High School and Piper High School is in process to determine the facts and details of what occurred during last evening’s volleyball game between Piper and Baldwin. It is not appropriate to make any comment or decisions until that investigation can be thoroughly completed.”
Parents in attendance defended Baldwin students on social media, writing that it was a camo-themed night at Baldwin High and what Piper volleyball players heard were turkey and duck calls.
It’s a claim Byers rejects.
“I believe they probably were doing the calls. but I don’t feel like it was mistaken for monkey calls. I feel like ‘quack quack’ is different than ‘ooh ooh aah aah. I don’t feel like you can misconstrue the two,” she said.
On behalf of Piper Interim Superintendent Dr. Blain McCann, the district’s communications director issued this statement about the incident:
“You may be aware of a situation that occurred recently during a Piper High School volleyball match at an opposing school. It was reported that spectators from the opposing team were making racially offensive comments directed at players on the Piper team.
‘We always want our students to feel they are safe, supported, and treated with respect,’ said Dr. Blane McCann, Piper USD 203 Interim Superintendent. ‘To that end, we will not tolerate any racially motivated behavior directed toward our students. Likewise, we will not permit our students to be disrespectful to their peers or toward opposing schools. I applaud our students for handling a difficult situation with grace and dignity.’
Members of the Piper administration are working closely with administrators from the opposing school to conduct a thorough investigation of the events that transpired and ensure there will be no future events of this nature.”