Posted on December 9, 2022

Students Accused of Racist Chants, Bringing Black Doll to Kansas School Basketball Game

Kaitlyn Alanis, Kansas City Star, December 6, 2022

A high school basketball coach in Kansas said his players and traveling fans faced “racial slurs, threats and disgusting taunts” from the other team’s students who were watching the game from the bleachers.

Now Topeka High School head boys basketball coach Geo Lyons is calling for Valley Center High School fans to be removed from future sporting events after Valley Center Public Schools has apologized.

In a petition, Lyons said the boys and girls teams “experienced outright racism” while Valley Center’s administration let the students’ behavior continue.

“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 …,” he said. “The student section even passed around a naked Black baby doll and often waived to at Topeka High players.”

In a statement to McClatchy News, a Valley Center Public Schools spokesperson said the district is working with Topeka High School Administration to “investigate claims of racist remarks being made.”

“As of this morning (12/6), administration from both schools have not found any evidence that such remarks were made during or following the basketball game,” she said.

The spokesperson did confirm “fans from both sides became very loud and involved” during the “hard-fought boys’ basketball game,” and Valley Center students were involved in an “inappropriate chant” and passing around a Black baby doll.

Administration “did their best to handle reported situations, particularly those involving some students in the Valley Center student section,” she said.

Students who were involved in inappropriate chants were removed from the game, and an off-duty police officer helped get everyone else to leave immediately after the game ended, according to the statement.

Videos shared by a Topeka basketball player show the doll being used as a prop and other taunts Dec. 3 in Valley Center. {snip}


The Black baby doll was an infant simulator assigned to a student for a human growth and development class, according to the district statement.

“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.”