Blue Springs South responds to criticism of race issues

Posted at 12:33 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 13:33:56-04

Despite seeing what he called the cultural division in his lifetime, Blue Springs South High School principal Charlie Belt said students and staff are trying to bridge gaps.

Those gaps showed a bit wider in the past week after a student discovered a racial slur written on a paper of hers inside a physics classroom door.

Then on Tuesday night, according The Kansas City Star, Blue Springs parents expressed concerns of other racial incidents inside the school, including a hallway area where black students gather being referred to as "Africa" by some students.

"This place means a lot to me and we don't tolerate inappropriate or insensitive or racist behavior," said Belt, pushing back on the assertion that the school was neglecting to act on racial problems within the school.

"In the past seven days, well over 90 man hours have been spent at this school last week to get to the bottom of [the written racial slur], to provide consequences, to resolve it," he added. 

Belt said he was unaware of a part of his school being referred to as "Africa" until Tuesday's committee meeting, and says out of 1,500 teenagers, mistakes are bound to happen.

Belt said he is not all-knowing and referenced a comment made by 17-year-old senior Isaiah Jackson, who said that student's need to help when there is something that needs to be addressed.

"Insensitivity needs to stop, so if we are the ones that hear someone call it that or hear someone reference that, then we really decide that we're the ones that need to stop it," said Jackson.