KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Wednesday, a town hall was held at the Gregg/Klice Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri, after a teacher was accused of using a racial slur at University Academy during a class discussion.
The town hall included parents, students and alumni within the University Academy community, along with members of civil rights groups in KCMO.
At the meeting, the community gathered to discuss next steps and to come up with a set of demands to bring the school amid the allegations.
“I was extremely angered and hurt," said Melissa Robinson, a KCMO councilwoman whose two children attend the school. “I am extremely disturbed that in 2022, our children would be exposed to such racial violence and the response is unconscionable."
Robinson's frustration comes after a video surfaced showing the teacher using the racial slur during the discussion on Nov. 10.
“When children try to go about it in a dignified manner expressing, 'You are a teacher, you are the teaching leader and this is inappropriate,' and then for the leader to just turn around and say, 'I am who I am, you are who you are,' that’s not going to cut it,” said Bishop Frank Douglas, a board member with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City.
Robinson says as a parent, she is upset about the lack of response from the school.
Though the incident occurred on Nov. 10, parents were notified until Nov. 29, according to Robinson.
“The response from the school as it comes to communicating with parents what happened was unacceptable,” Robinson said. “This happened November 10th and we weren’t notified until after the Thanksgiving holiday.”
KSHB 41 News originally reached out the school on Nov. 29 to confirm the incident.
At the time, the school provided us with the letter sent to families, which confirmed it was looking into the incident and that the teacher was on administrative leave, among other things.
On Wednesday, University Academy Superintendent Rebecca Gudde sent KSHB 41 an updated statement.
“If you listen to the beginning of the video, you will hear the word that was used by the teacher while in the classroom," Gudde said in part in the statement. "While we are concluding our internal investigation, we have been in communication with the UA community and with the leaders of various civil rights organizations in the area regarding our process and what steps we are taking to ensure a safe, productive learning environment for our students."
Douglas said he believed the town hall was a good first step in the right direction.
“It was the first step, and much was said to say 'Hey, we do know we are going to fix this right,'” Douglas said.
Now, the University Academy community hopes it can move forward.
“This is a public institution; it’s paid for by public dollars and so there need to be some accountability for that investment,” Robinson said.