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Olathe North baseball coach fired for racial slur

Olathe board meeting pete flood.jpeg
Posted at 9:25 AM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 21:58:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Olathe North High School baseball coach Pete Flood has been fired.

Flood was placed on administrative leave last week after being accused of using a racial slur when talking to the only Black player on the team.

The father of that player posted on social media that his son was playing rap music on a speaker during pregame warmups before a game with rival Olathe South when Flood confronted the player and said the team doesn’t “play that (racial slur) music.” He said that "country and rock" were the only acceptable types of pregame music.

"We didn't find out until after the game, after he made it home from the game," the parent told 41 Action News last week. "He (the coach) did it in the open, until this point he hasn't denied it. I think the fair thing and the right thing for my son and for the kids in the Olathe School District is for this guy to be banned."

When Flood was placed on administrative leave, it was recommended he be terminated.

The Olathe Board of Education held a special session Monday morning to discuss the outcome.

41 Action News anchor Dia Wall spoke to Flood Monday afternoon. While Flood declined an on-camera interview, he confirmed he released a statement to media outlets on Monday.

“Never, never, never have I ever used the ‘N-word’ or any other racial slur to address a student, player, or person in my entire twenty-five year career in this district nor my personal life,” Flood said in the statement.

Flood went on to say he heard the lyrics of a song that included a racial slur and approached the student and asked him to turn off the music. Flood said when that didn’t “immediately occur,” he repeated the lyrics of the song and asked the student to turn off the music.

In my opinion, these types of lyrics should never be played in a public venue at a school event,” Flood continued in the statement. “I deeply regret that I repeated the N-word aloud; however, I do not regret requesting that a song with such offensive and derogatory language be turned off.”

Board members voted 7-0 to accept the administration's recommendation to terminate Flood's teaching contract and employment from any and all positions he holds with the district.

“This board takes this seriously and we are committed to getting it right," they read in a statement. "The school district stands firmly against racism, discrimination and racial profiling of any kind."

Board members have asked the Department of Diversity and Engagement to develop a comprehensive plan to be presented to the board in August to tackle the topic of racism in the district because they believe this cannot be an isolated incident.

"That swift action, I mean I think it's unheard of in any school district,” said the player's father, Tony Banks, in an interview Monday. “So, I do clap my hands at administration in Olathe North for how they handled this.”

Going forward, there will be discussions about diversity training for staff and students.

“I'm all for second chances, giving another opportunity, but where does that stop? They need to handle it a lot better,” Banks said. "When it comes to kids, not just my kid, but all kids are hurt by this. As his comment to my son, the other kids — they’re suffering right now too. So, that should not have happened."

The board president thanked the family of the student for bringing the "abhorrent behavior" forward so that the topic can be addressed.