*The Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation Department has apologized to a Black family after staffers canceled a birthday party at the last minute.
The father of two Black teenage sons said they were racially profiled and discriminated against but the park claims the birthday party that had been planned for one of the boys was canceled because it attracted too many people, sparking safety concerns.
According to The Kansas City Star, last month Chris Evans reserved the Summit Waves Aquatic Facility to host his son’s birthday party on Saturday. They signed a contract and paid $1,900 for 250 guests. They could have had up to 1,400 people for an additional $200. Once guests began showing up, the water park denied them entry “for no apparent reason than the color of their skin,” Evans said
“What are you scared of, Lee’s Summit?” asked Chris Evans during a news conference with his sons Isaiah Evens, 17, and 15-year-old Noah Evans.
“It appears to have been canceled simply because the park staff was uncomfortable with a group of Black teenagers having a pool party to enjoy the end of the summer,” said Evans.
Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird reacted to the incident Tuesday morning, saying the city was investigating, Fox 4 reports.
“Unfortunately, statements were made by a Parks and Recreation manager at Summit Waves that were inappropriate and insensitive,” Baird said in a statement.
The parks department said an internal review identified “missed processes and miscommunication that led to the cancellation.”
“A sincere apology is owed to the Evans family and our Lee’s Summit community,” Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation said in a statement. “LSPR strives to be a respectful and inclusive organization where all members of our community feel welcome and appreciated. Inappropriate language, social media posts and behavior are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The parks department said the family violated the agreement when they advertised the party on social media. Summit Waves staff reportedly tried to call the family multiple times prior to the cancellation but didn’t hear back. The birthday party was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and LSPR canceled the event at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“Safety pertaining to the anticipated crowd size and the potential impact it might have on party guests and the staff was the sole reason for the cancellation,” LSPR said in a statement.