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5-10-21 — May 10 Board of Education Action

May 10, 2021 ~ The Olathe Board of Education gathered in two special virtual meetings on Monday, May 10.

  • In the first special virtual meeting, the board heard a report from the Senate Bill 40 hearing officer about the hearing held on Tuesday, May 4. The board voted to deny and dismiss the complainant’s request to remove the district’s quarantine processes in relation to their child. As a reminder, the Kansas Legislature passed Senate Bill 40, which gives boards of education sole authority to take actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation also provides that employees, students, and parents or guardians who disagree with the COVID-19 interventions in place may request a hearing to challenge the interventions. Should there be any future hearings, they will be communicated on the district website under News Articles.
  • In the second special virtual meeting, the board met in executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. Following the executive session, the board resumed to approve the termination of Olathe North teacher and coach Pete Flood.

Below is a copy of Board of Education President Joe Beveridge’s statement.

Statement from Board President Joe Beveridge

On Thursday, May 6th, Pete Flood, an Olathe School District employee, used a reprehensible racial slur during the warm-up period prior to a game. I was deeply ashamed and outraged to learn about this. It is inexcusable on every single level. Our next steps as a school district are going to be some of the most important steps we ever take. The board takes this very seriously and we are committed to doing our best to get it right.

First, I want to express my deepest apology to Nyle Banks and his parents, Tony and Natalie. Thank you for your bravery in coming forward to bring this coach’s abhorrent behavior to our attention, so that we can take swift action to help prevent this from happening again. I would also like to offer an apology to all the students and staff members who were present and had to experience this situation.

Today, I will be voting to immediately terminate Pete Flood from the Olathe School District. Anyone who demonstrates racism and bigotry like this has no place in our district. The Olathe School District stands firmly against racism, discrimination, and racial profiling of any kind. It is in direct conflict with our value of inclusivity.

To help ensure equity in the Olathe school district, we have taken some positive steps forward with our Diversity and Engagement department and I am thankful to Mr. Erazo and Mr. Harris for their significant contributions in this area. However, there is clearly more work to do at the policy level and as the President of the School Board, I take responsibility for that.

I am asking Dr. Yeager to work with our Department of Diversity and Engagement and the Diversity and Engagement Advisory Council to develop a comprehensive plan to be presented to the Board of Education in August. We would be naive to assume that this was just one isolated incident. When you think about the history and current backdrop of our country, it is clear that we need to talk openly about racism, encourage civil discourse, and address our blind spots. I would like this report to include an evaluation of our diversity training for teachers, staff, coaches, and students to make sure we are applying best practices.

I commend the administration for their immediate action Friday to investigate this issue and recommend termination. I know the vast majority of our teachers and staff members work hard to provide an inclusive environment that is both safe and welcoming for all students, which makes this very poor reflection on our school district all the more painful.

In closing, I not only take this seriously, but personally. My youngest daughter is Chinese American. My niece is African American. For them and for Nyle Banks and for every single one of our current and future students of all races and ethnicities, I will personally make every effort to ensure that we take this terrible situation and try to bring as much good from it as we possibly can. You can and should expect more from Olathe Schools. We will learn from this and we will be better in the future.