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Education

Olathe North Baseball Coach Fired For Using Racial Slur Toward Team’s Only Black Player

Olathe North High School
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Olathe North High School

According to a player's parent, Olathe North baseball coach Pete Flood used a racial slur to refer to rap music before a game last Thursday, leading the district superintendent to recommend his firing.

The Olathe Public School Board voted unanimously Monday to immediately terminate Olathe North High School head baseball coach Pete Flood after he used a racial slur toward a Black player.

Tony Banks, the player’s father, said last Thursday that his son, the only Black player on the baseball team, had helped set up speakers to play music during batting practice before a game against Olathe South.

Banks wrote on Facebook that after hearing rap music playing over the speakers, Flood walked up to Banks’ son and said, “We don’t play that (racial slur) music over here. We only play country and rock music.”

Banks notified the district Thursday night. The district placed Flood on administrative leave on Friday after investigating the incident, and superintendent John Allison recommended that the Board of Education terminate Flood immediately.

The school board met on Monday morning in executive session before following that recommendation.

“I am deeply ashamed and outraged to learn about this. It is inexcusable on every level,” said board president Joe Beveridge. “Our next steps as a school district are going to be some of the most important steps that we will ever take. This board takes this seriously and we are committed to getting it right.”

KCUR has reached out to Banks for comment.

Flood had been employed by the school district since 1996. He began working as an assistant coach for the Olathe North football team in 2003 and took over as head coach in 2006. He started serving as the head baseball coach this school year and was most recently listed as a physical education teacher on the school’s website.

Beveridge apologized to the Banks family and thanked them for “coming forward to bring this coach's abhorrent behavior to our attention so we can act swiftly to prevent this from happening ever again.”

“The school district stands firmly against racism, discrimination and racial profiling of any kind,” Beveridge said. “There is clearly more work to do on the policy level, and as the president of the school board, I take responsibility for that. We would be naive to assume this was just one, isolated incident. When you think about the history and current backdrop in our country, it is clear that we need to talk openly about racism, encourage civil discourse and address our blindspots.”

Beveridge directed staff to develop a comprehensive plan on diversity and engagement, to be presented to the board in August. He asked for a report on the evaluation of the district’s diversity training for staff and students.

“I will personally make every effort to ensure that we take this terrible situation and try to make as much good as we can come from it,” Beveridge said.

Brian Geary, vice president of the board, commended the Banks family for alerting the district about the incident.

“I think speaking up is the first step in getting things out in the open, so we can discuss them and also make changes that need to be made immediately,” Geary said. “I hope that others will learn from this and have the courage to speak up when they see people being wronged.”

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