Pete Flood, head baseball coach at Olathe North High School, needs to be fired after aiming the n-word at the only Black player on the team.
In a Friday Facebook post, the player’s father, Tony Banks, said his son and another player on the team set up speakers and were playing rap music during batting practice before a game with Olathe South. Banks said Flood walked up to his son, “looked him in the eyes, and told him, ‘We don’t play that n_____ music over here. We only play country and rock music.’ ”
The district confirmed that’s what happened, said the coach had been suspended and that they were recommending he be fired immediately, as he certainly should.
“We are appalled by the remarks made by the Olathe North head baseball coach,” the statement said, “and have thoroughly investigated the situation. The staff member has been placed on administrative leave and a recommendation for immediate termination has been submitted to the Board of Education. The comments made are absolutely unacceptable. In the Olathe Public Schools, our priority is the well-being of ALL our students. Racist and derogatory statements will never be tolerated. This is not who we are in Olathe. Our focus now is on the support and care of our students.”
The Board of Education will meet in a special board meeting on Monday morning to discuss the situation, but the outcome can’t possibly be in doubt, since there is no justification for a coach to talk to any student this way.
“To say something like that directly to a kid in the presence of other kids — this person does not need to be where he can influence or impact anybody, especially children,” Banks told The Star. “My son was hurt through this.”
Banks, in his post, asked other parents to contact Principal Janson Hermanon and Athletic Director Josh Price, and ask that Flood be removed, replaced or fired. Flood has been employed by the school district since 1996. In 2003, he began serving as an assistant coach with the Olathe North football, team then took over as head coach in 2006. He resigned from that position in 2011 but continued teaching in the district. Flood started as Olathe North’s head baseball coach this school year.
“He should be fired!!! I don’t understand ignorance like this and it infuriates me that he thought that BS was ok. I will definitely call the school !!!!” one parent posted in response to Banks.
“This is sad on so many levels,” wrote another parent. “We entrust our kids to coaches with the understanding they will lead with character and integrity. I hope the school sees it the same way. There is more at stake.”
That this happened at all is horrific. And though shocking, is not as surprising as we wish it were.