Amid furor, investigation finds no proof of racist chants at Kansas high school volleyball match

Photo: Billy Hardiman/Special for The Republic

Amid furor, investigation finds no proof of racist chants at Kansas high school volleyball match

Girls Volleyball

Amid furor, investigation finds no proof of racist chants at Kansas high school volleyball match

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A high school volleyball match in Kansas brought allegations of racist chants by a homestanding team, only for a state association investigation to conclude that there was no proof that the alleged offensive behavior actually happened.

As reported by Kansas City CBS affiliate KCTV, Piper (Kan.) High School student athletes accused Baldwin City (Kan.) High students of directing monkey noises at them. But a Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) investigation into the incident found that the reported sounds could not be verified by interviews or video footage that was reviewed by the KASB.

Here are the details of the investigation, as obtained by KCTV.

The report detailed how investigators used 37 statements from Baldwin City students, staff, parents and officials at the game, as well as a dozen in-person interviews, including three Piper students and their guardians. They also reviewed video a Baldwin City parent shot of the entire game.

According to the KASB, the investigation found that Piper students heard crowd noises and interpreted them as racially charged but there was no evidence that Baldwin City students made racially charged noises or chants.

While both school districts are allegedly moving on from the incident, Piper’s interim superintendent expressed frustration with the lack of students from his school that were interviewed as part of the investigation.

Here was the statement released by the aforementioned Piper superintendent, Blane McCann:

Today, a statement from Baldwin USD 348 was issued regarding an incident that occurred at a volleyball match between Piper High School and Baldwin High School. Piper students reported hearing racially charged comments directed toward them. The statement from Baldwin indicates investigators spoke to dozens of Baldwin students, staff, and parents. While Piper did decline the opportunity to co-sponsor the KASB investigation, the district did offer the investigators access to our players, coaches and administrators as needed to complete the investigations. Investigators spoke to only three Piper students and their guardians but failed to speak to any other Piper parents, coaches or athletic director as to their version of events at the contest.

From my perspective, I stand with the students of Piper and support their version of events and feel enough is enough. This is at least the fourth instance within the last three years of our students being subjected to racially charged comments while participating in student activities and athletic events at various schools. We are proud of our students in their resilience through extremely difficult situations that young people should never have to face.

As a society, we can no longer allow people to make excuses for unacceptable behavior that is disrespectful and dismissive of certain groups. Piper USD 203 students and staff will continue to treat people with respect and dignity going forward as we seek to maintain and improve our own district’s culture.

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Amid furor, investigation finds no proof of racist chants at Kansas high school volleyball match
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