Should Washington High School change its name to Michelle Obama High School?

The Kansas City, Kansas, school board recently heard a request from a resident to change Washington High School’s name to Michelle Obama High School.

A letter was read at the July 21 board meeting’s community comments section from Amiel Green II. He and his father graduated from Washington Rural High School, and he is presently attending Rockhurst University, taking pre-med classes, along with physics and bioethics.

The school was named in 1932, and at that time the area was rural., Green stated.

“George Washington owned slaves for 59 years and the only people that were free in his lifetime were white land-owning males,” Green’s letter stated. Washington’s name does not reflect the students in today’s Washington High School hallways, he wrote.

Green didn’t think it would cost very much to change the school’s name. New signs, new sports and activities uniforms, and new shirts were among the items that might need to be changed if the school’s name is changed, according to his letter.

Green pointed out that the only drawback from naming a school after a person currently living is that the person could in the future do something stupid, but he didn’t think that was likely in this case, according to his letter.

No word yet on whether the school board will discuss the idea at a later date.

School board member Val Winn, a history professor who attended Washington, said today that the board hasn’t discussed the issue yet. Although there may be limited support at this time for that letter, there are also other schools that other district patrons have suggested should be renamed.

Dr. Winn said she has heard from residents who want to change the names of Charles Lindbergh and Frances Willard schools.

Willard, a suffragist in the 1890s, did not always support the right of African-Americans to vote, and Lindbergh in the 1920s was somewhat of a sympathizer of Nazi Germany, she said.

“The concept is something we seriously need to consider,” Dr. Winn said. “Particularly with Washington, it’s part of a larger discussion, as far as I’m concerned.”

KCK school board member calls for outside independent investigation

Dr. Valdenia Winn, a member of the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education, is calling for an outside independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the school district.

Dr. Winn said board members are very concerned about the allegations, and will be holding a special meeting on Tuesday morning. Dr. Winn believes many members of the community and district want to see an outside independent investigation.

When allegations of sexual harassment surfaced last week on social media, the school district launched an internal investigation into the incident. Many comments by parents and community members were made on the district’s social media. The district then invited the parents and students to make comments on a link to an existing form to report bullying and harassment that it had placed on its website at, before the incident occurred.

Also, Superintendent Charles Foust has stated on the district’s website that he would like to meet with students about the issues and has set up meeting schedules at

A special school board meeting has been called for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 30, on Zoom to discuss issues raised recently by parents and students. A meeting notice is at The meeting notice stated that the board will recess to an executive session, which is closed to the public, to discuss matters that are privileged under the attorney-client relationship.

Dr. Winn’s letter to the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education:

NO Discrimination, NO Sexual Harassment!

“TO: USD # 500 Board of Education

“Madam Chair and fellow members of the Board of Education:

“As an educator of more than 40 years and a citizen of Kansas City, Kansas, I am appalled at the recent allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment in our USD #500 schools. This is a very, very, serious matter.

“I am calling upon the Board of Education to authorize an immediate investigation by an Independent Outside Investigator to complete a thorough investigation and to recommend comprehensive reforms and actions. This can not be swept under the rug! It may indeed go back several years. We do not know!

“We owe it to our students, parents, staff, administrators, community and fellow board members to be completely accountable and transparent at all costs in these matters. Let the chips fall…!

“No form of sexual harassment will be tolerated by teachers, staff, administrators and or coaches. No remarks, physical advances and or unwelcomed behavior of a sexual or racial nature in schools or in any other settings will be tolerated. It is the LAW!

“Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people based on their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized. We need to stop this ignorance! We need to stop this behavior!

“We must act swiftly and thoroughly weed out the bad apples in our district. To repeat: I call for the Board of Education to hire an Independent Outside Investigator so that there can be a truly fair, thorough and impartial investigation. I hope that we will make this decision at the Special board meeting on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. If the Board of Education allows the investigation to be conducted “In House” …then it shows that the Board members are not serious about getting to the truth of these allegations. We need INDEPENDENT OUTSIDE INVESTIGATORS who will not protect anyone who is guilty…this investigation must be from the top to the bottom.

“Dr. Valdenia C. Winn
“USD #500 Board Member”

Charlotte Davis enters KSHSAA Hall of Fame

Charlotte Davis posed with her KSHSAA Hall of Fame plaque during a presentation ceremony at Wyandotte High School. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Charlotte Davis, a longtime teacher, coach and athletic director with the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, has been inducted into the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) Hall of Fame.

She was honored with a reception and ceremony on Friday evening at Wyandotte High School.

Former students and colleagues lined up to speak about her years of service, frequently mentioning the combination of compassion and discipline she brought to the students in her charge. Others recalled how she thrived in a male-dominated profession, while making a path for others to follow.

Davis graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1967. She started her career as an elementary physical education teacher in the Kansas City, Kansas, district. She later worked at both Harmon and Washington high schools, before returning to Wyandotte in 1989 as athletic director. She later served as district athletic director.

Davis’s influence extended way beyond the boundaries of District 500. She served on numerous state level boards, including the KSHSAA executive board.

She earned the Athletic Director of the Year award from the Kansas Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 1998, and she served as the organization’s first woman president in 2002. She also earned the NIAAA’s State Award of Merit in 2006.

Bill Todd, former principal at Harmon and Washington high schools, recalled hiring Davis on his staff. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Victor Williams, a student of Davis’s at Wyandotte and now a basketball coach, remembered her compassion for students. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Bill Faflick, executive director of KSHSAA, congratulated Charlotte Davis on being inducted to the organization’s Hall of Fame. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Charlotte Davis clapped and sang along as the Wyandotte High School band played their fight song. Behind her, left to right, Cheryl Gleason, assistant executive director of KSHSAA; Bill Faflick, executive director of KSHSAA; Dr. Charles Foust, KCKPS district superintendent; Tammie Romstad, KCKPS district athletic director; Mary Stewart, Wyandotte High School principal; and Rufus Black, Wyandotte High School athletic director. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Craig Delich, a retired teacher and coach at Wyandotte, reminisced about their days working together. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Cindy Lane, former superintendent of Kansas City Kansas Public Schools, posed with Charlotte Davis after the ceremony. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Tim O’Malley, a former coach at Wyandotte, recalled an incident when he turned on the sprinklers during a track meet. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Mary Stewart, principal at Wyandotte High School, presented Charlotte Davis a plaque made by Wyandotte students. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)
Shirley Murray, athletic director and assistant principal at Rosedale and Harmon high schools, recalled Charlotte Davis as a student and later as a young PE teacher. (Photo copyright 2020 by Brian Turrel)