Kansas BOE Suspends Education Commissioner Watson

The Kansas Board of Education has voted to suspended Education Commissioner Randy Watson following a special meeting on Friday.

The KSBOE rejected Watson’s resignation and instead opted to suspend him for 30-days without pay. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly had called for Watson to step down following an offensive remark involving Native Americans he said during a Zoom presentation.

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.”

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