Governor Kelly Calling for Education Commissioner to Step Down

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is calling on the state’s top public-school administrator to resign his post after he let slip an offensive remark involving Native Americans.

The governor met with three Native American lawmakers Thursday to get their thoughts on the matter. The offensive remark, was made by education commissioner Randy Watson. In a short anecdote during a Zoom conference last week, Watson refers to Native Americans as “Indians” and appears to portray in a negative light.

According to the Kansas Reflector, here is what Watson said, as he was talking about growing up in Kansas:

“I had some cousins from California. They were petrified of tornadoes. They’d come visit us, you know, in the summer. They were like, ‘Are we going to get killed by a tornado?’ And I’d say, ‘Don’t worry about that, but you got to worry about the Indians raiding the town at any time.’ And they really thought that. Grow up in California, I guess you don’t know much of the history of Kansas.”

The State Board of Education has called a special meeting for Friday to discuss the matter.

Watson has been the Education Commissioner in Kansas since 2014 after serving as superintendent of McPherson Public Schools.