Protesters express concern after student says he was racially targeted
OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - Protestors rallied in front of the Olathe Public Schools building Monday, expressing they’re concerned about racial issues within the district after students at Olathe South used racial slurs.
Kirubel Solomon, a student at Olathe South, said he was racially targeted at school for five straight months.
“Three white kids just attacked me based off the color of my skin, calling me names such as the n-word and stuff like that,” Solomon said.
He said he finally decided to speak up after an incident in jewelry class. He said those same kids etched the n-word into a piece of scrap metal and gave it to him.
“I was just real angry because the amount of ignorance and hate, the amount of confidence to go and do something like that,” Solomon said. “Really got me mad.”
His anger was felt around the district. Today, students and parents at Olathe South gathered in front of the district building to voice their concerns.
“Why do we want people who support racists running our schools?” one of the protestors said.
“The main reason why I wanted to come here is to stop the racism, because I never feel safe at Olathe South,” said Axel Solis, a sophomore at Olathe South.
“I’ll be honest: I’m not shocked,” said Jordan Riasa, parent of an Olathe South student. “We all know there is going to be another situation, there will be another situation next year, unless something is done with the school district.”
The district’s superintendent released a statement about the incident. It said: “We want to apologize for any hurt that this situation may have caused our students, staff, families and community members. I want to be clear that racism and hate speech are not and will never be acceptable in our school district. We are deeply saddened that this incident and incidents like this continue to happen to our students.”
Protesters said they want to see a number of changes, including the firing of the Olathe South principal and more diversity among district educators. While they wait for change, however, community organizations like Suburban Balance are there to provide support for students of color.
“We can no longer keep emailing,” said Tera Wiggins with Suburban Balance. “We can’t keep talking about things that we’re doing and it only shows on paper. It’s time to have a plan and execute it.”
At the end of the protest, Olathe Schools Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager came outside the building and spoke with the parents and students.
Copyright 2023 KCTV. All rights reserved.