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Olathe South High School investigating racist homecoming sign

Olathe Public Schools
Posted at 10:08 PM, Sep 24, 2021

Editor's Note, Sept. 27: This story has been updated to include a description of the poster.

Olathe South High School is investigating a racist incident that was reported Friday.

A student posted a photo on social media of asking another student to homecoming with a racist sign.

The poster read, “If I was Black, I would be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you” for homecoming. The poster included several cotton balls and a box whether to check yes or no.

In a letter sent to families, Olathe South said the district was made aware of the “offensive post circulating on social media” earlier Friday evening.

“I felt it was important to share that we are working to thoroughly investigate the situation and contact all parties involved, including student guardians,” Olathe South Principal Dale Longenecker wrote. “At Olathe South and in the Olathe Public Schools, we are committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment for ALL our students.

"The type of behavior displayed in the social media post does not meet the expectations of our core values. Any behavior like this will be immediately addressed in accordance with our Student Code of Conduct.”

In response to the backlash the female student pictured in the social media post has received, her mother, Rhonda Windholz, sent a statement Saturday to KSHB 41 News.

"One Caucasian and one African-American boy were involved. It was the African-American boy who actually made the sign, already marked up and took the picture," Windholz said. "This by no means makes it right but should shed some light on the situation.

"Caught up in the excitement of being asked to her first ever homecoming, our daughter held the sign that was given to her. It was only after actually comprehending the situation, that she realized what was happening. She blatantly said no!! By then, it was too late.

"Please know that we have diversity in our own family and believe that all lives matter. We have received many death threats and numerous people have told our daughter to kill herself.

"The response to this misunderstanding has caused much confusion and pain for many. We sincerely apologize to all who are offended."

Just last week, Park Hill South High School also experienced racism when students created a petition to reinstate slavery, angering peers and parents.