TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Education Commissioner suspended after telling a controversial story during a meeting is back, and shared an apology Tuesday during another meeting.
Commissioner Randy Watson had told a story during a February Board of Education presentation about when his family would visit Kansas. In the story, Watson’s cousins had expressed concerns about tornados, to which he replied, “Don’t worry about that, but you got to worry about the Indians raiding the town at any time.”
Watson faced calls to resign from local Native American tribes as well as Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly after the comments were publicized outside of the meeting. While the commissioner ultimately kept his job, he also publicly apologized in his first meeting since the controversy.
“Several weeks ago when I was speaking at a conference, I really let some people down and hurt people with some things I said about an event a long time ago,” Watson said. “As I was reflecting back on what my sincere apologies are, is that, the very people and groups of kids I try to uplift every day I failed to do so on that occasion. And so, it made me reflect about that.”
Watson previously submitted a letter of resignation that the Kansas Board of Education reviewed during a Feb. 25 personnel issues meeting. The board ultimately rejected the commissioner’s resignation, and moved to suspend him for 30 days instead.