Topeka, Valley Center school districts investigate alleged racial taunts at basketball game

Topeka USD 501 and Valley Center USD 262 superintendents urged patience as an investigation continues into alleged racism at a Topeka High basketball game.
Topeka USD 501 and Valley Center USD 262 superintendents urged patience as an investigation continues into alleged racism at a Topeka High basketball game.

A joint investigation by Topeka USD 501 and Valley Center USD 262 officials continues after fans of the Valley Center High School team allegedly made racial taunts against Black members of the Topeka High basketball team.

During a game between the schools Saturday in Valley Center, fans of the home team allegedly used a racial slur against Black players and fans of Topeka High and threatened to lynch players, Topeka High basketball coach Geo Lyons claims in a Change.org petition.

Fans at that game were removed for other offensive behavior and taunts, but while Valley Center USD 262 superintendent Cory Gibson has apologized to his Topeka USD 501 counterpart Tiffany Anderson, the school and the Topeka community for that behavior by his school's fans, neither he nor other officials — including Topeka High principal Rebecca Morrisey — have yet been able to confirm the allegations of racism.

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Both districts remain committed to continuing the investigation into the incident, the superintendents said in a joint statement.

"It’s important all parties allow for investigations to occur and that we model for students ways to address adversity when it arises," the superintendents wrote. "As superintendents, we are working jointly to address the issues and uncover the facts about what occurred so that inaccurate information and rumors are not circulated. The incident that occurred is concerning and we both need community support and grace to allow us to complete theinvestigation."

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The superintendents said they will continue to work together to ensure that any "appropriate individuals are held accountable," but they also urged both school communities to allow patience and refrain from violence, or language and behavior that promotes violence.

"Be assured that we both have the best interests of each other's students and communities at heart in our conversations and decisions," the statement read.

Rafael Garcia is an education reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at rgarcia@cjonline.com or by phone at 785-289-5325. Follow him on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Topeka High, Valley Center basketball racism investigation continues