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Kansas Representative Expresses Frustration Over School’s Decision

Kansas Representative Expresses Frustration Over School’s Decision

Johan Marin

Commissioner Randy Watson is under a 30-day suspension with no compensation after making derogatory remarks about Native Americans.

The offensive remarks made were during a virtual education conference in which Watson told a story of his cousins wanting to visit him in Kansas. In his story, Watson used the term, “Indians raiding the town at any time”.

Prior to the suspension, Watson filed for resignation but was rejected by the Kansas State Board of Education. The decision to reject Watson’s resignation left many Native Americans upset and in disagreement with the board.

Representative Christina Haswood, D-Lawrence, spoke to KUJH and said she was very disappointed and upset by the comments made and she believes the board should’ve followed with Watson’s resignation.

“This is an attack on our indigenous students,” Haswood said.

Haswood said the comments expressed by Watson reminded her of the experiences she faced as a Native American student.

“There was many moments in the classroom where a teacher or a director of some sort; a leader in the community that was supposed to representing us have made some type of unconscious bias remarks,” Haswood said. 

KU journalism assistant professor Rebekkah Schlichting agreed with Haswood that the comments made by Watson were offensive.

“I feel like it this would’ve happened to any other community that it would’ve gotten more attention and something more seriously would’ve been taken,” Schlichting said.

Schlichting believes it’s important for communities to be more aware of the Native American community and culture.

“Really developing a curriculum that teaches the history of native people and talks about us in a modern sense,” Schlichting said.

While many Native communities are upset with the comments made by Watson, many are hopeful with more Native American legislators better action will be taken in the future.



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