Students Chanted Slurs, Brought Black Doll To Basketball Game, Coach Says

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A Kansas high school basketball coach says his players and traveling fans were taunted, threatened, and called racial slurs at a game by students who attended the opposing school.

According to the Kansas City Star, Topeka High School coach Geo Lyons is calling for Valley Center High School fans to be removed from future sporting events after his team “experienced outright racism” at a basketball game on Saturday (December 3), per a petition.

“Players and spectators from Topeka High were called the N-word, threatened to be lynched and at one point a Topeka High player was taunted ...,” Lyons said. “The student section even passed around a naked Black baby doll and often waived to at Topeka High players.”

A Valley Center Public Schools spokesperson said “fans from both sides became very loud and involved” during the “hard-fought boys’ basketball game" and confirmed that Valley Center students were involved in an "inappropriate chant" and passed around a Black baby doll. However, the district said it's still working to “investigate claims of racist remarks being made.”

“Based on a review of videos, the baby was passed around between students during the game,” the spokesperson said. “While the ‘baby’ was not brought intentionally as a prop to taunt or threaten Topeka High School, without context, seeing the ‘baby’ and images of the ‘baby’ caused hurt and concern to many, and for that, we are very sorry.”

According to the district, the Black baby doll was given to a student for human growth and development class.

Valley Center administration also issued an apology to the Topeka High School community in a letter sent to the superintendent on Monday (December 5).

“First, we are sorry. We are better than the conduct we exhibited on Saturday,” the letter said. “We would never want anyone in our schools, especially visitors, to feel insulted, upset, or disgusted by our behavior. The behavior exhibited was not in alignment with the values or teachings our district strives to uphold. We are embarrassed by this display and will work diligently to keep it from recurring.”

Lyons told KSN that no one did anything to protect the children.

“It was my son who was at the free throw line when the chant ‘he’s a (expletive)’ started; the N-word was used and thrown around, you know, our kids were told they were going to be hanged … I had a down locker room, I’m talking about tears were flowing in that locker room.”

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