Coach petitions to remove Valley Center fans following incident tabbed racist

Topeka High School Basketball Coach George “Geo” Lyons has started a petition to remove fans from select sporting events. (Source: WIBW)
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 10:00 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The coach of Topeka High School’s basketball team has started a petition to remove fans from Valley Center High School sporting events following an incident tabbed as racist.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Topeka High School Basketball Coach George “Geo” Lyons started a Change.org petition to remove fans from Valley Center High School sporting events.

In the petition, Coach Lyons detailed the team’s recent away game against Valley Center in which “employees from Valley Center High School failed to protect Topeka High from racial slurs, threats and disgusting taunts.”

According to Lyons, players and spectators from the Capital City were called “the N-word,” threatened to be lynched and at one point a player was taunted with chants of “He’s a p***y.”

Students from Valley Center were also seen passing around a “naked black baby doll” and waving it at Topeka High players.

Lyons said that administration and staff from Valley Center did not address any of these actions while the game was ongoing although they had been made aware.

However, on Tuesday, Valley Center staff sent an apology to the Topeka Public Schools USD 501 district and Superintendent Tiffany Anderson. The district also admitted they were aware of a student who had been in the school’s Human Growth and Development class and brought her class-issued baby doll to the game with her for an assignment.

The administration did note that the doll was equipped with an internal recording device and that based on a review of videos, “the baby was passed around between students during the game.”

Valley Center also listed its efforts to make amends.

On Wednesday, Valley Center administration said they made the decision to cancel classes in all USD 262 schools due to threats of violence that stemmed from the situation.

As of Wednesday morning, the petition had reached 6,375 of 7,500 signatures.

To view the petition, click HERE.

13 NEWS received a joint statement from Topeka Public Schools and the Valley Center School District on Wednesday, saying:

“Dear Staff and Families,

As both districts work in a unified manner to investigate matters related to the athletic events on Saturday, we as superintendents are both committed to ensuring a safe and respectful climate at school events. Incidents that occurred when individuals did not conduct themselves in ways that reflect our commitment to supporting students have been handled, and there are investigations that are ongoing. We will work together to ensure the appropriate individuals are held accountable and work together to prevent such incidents in the future.

It’s important all parties allow for investigations to occur and that we model for students ways to address adversity when it arises. 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 the investigation.

We are continuing discussions between the principals and superintendents as we investigate the issues. We do not support or condone violence or any language or behavior that promotes violence and we both remain prepared to hold individuals accountable if threatening language or behavior is displayed disrupting the school environment.

Thank you for allowing the districts to work together to fully investigate matters and address the issues in cooperation with the athletic association. Be assured that we both have the best interests of each other’s students and communities at heart in our conversations and decisions.”