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Parkway School Board candidate issues apology after racist video resurfaces again

Ryan Kerr said the video was sent to "a small group" back in 2016, but it has resurfaced weeks ahead of the April school board election.

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Video of a Parkway School Board candidate making racist and derogatory comments about two women has resurfaced online.

Now, many have called on voters to not vote for him, just weeks away from the school board election.

Ryan Kerr is one of seven candidates running for three open spots on the Parkway School Board in the upcoming April 4 election. 

He said the video was sent to a "small group" of friends back in 2016. 

Just eight days ago, someone posted it anonymously, and it has thousands of views already.

Kerr, 39, recently issued an apology that he said he's made several times before.

"I didn’t make any excuses for it then, I won’t make any excuses for it now," he said.

Kerr issued an apology and explanation in a seven-minute video on Facebook for a 7-year-old video that has made its way to the surface once again.

"There’s a lot of contexts missing from the video, not that it makes the comments any better," he said.

The registered nurse is running for the Parkway School Board, and he said the video being reposted weeks away from the election wasn't shocking to him.

The video in question is a four-minute-long rant where Kerr uses racial slurs, references obscene acts and swears constantly while talking about two women.

"Absolutely, there is no excuse for the language used in that video and there will never be an excuse for that language. I will be forever sorry to this person simply because that’s not right," he said.

Kerr sent this full statement to 5 On Your Side in an email:

"This was a very isolated and targeted event, intoxicated, and immediately following false allegation of assaulting a female. It wasn’t right regardless and there weren’t any excuses. I apologized very publicly, privately, and sought a counselor. Over the following 4 years I would engage in several voluntary cultural DEI programs as well as start a 7-year journey to be the best human I can be. Amongst this journey I fell in love with Asian history and culture. We actually employ several behavioral/nutritional concepts of Chinese origin with our children. My aunt is Kenyan, and I’ve been involved with my cousins' journey with being biracial in both St. Charles County schools and now Kansas City. I’m not about personal accomplishment boasting, and don’t engage in it. That said, in light of this, I will say I was the only one pointing out publicly at a board meeting last year how discriminatory the quarantine policy was that was in place in relation to already marginalized populations. It was quietly removed days later. I’ve been asking for data from Parkway for 6 weeks regarding sub-data of the aggregate data for suspensions by race that were posted at State of the District. They say they only have total number of days suspended data and that’s all. With only the data that was posted, we are left to assume there is about a 70% disparity between white and black student suspensions when adjusted for demographic populations in Parkway students. If that’s the case, then administrators at 4 identified schools should’ve been terminated already for overt racism in discipline policy. While I understand the outrage as if this video is somehow new, I also caution the understanding of my journey and self-development through counseling, programs, and ongoing counseling. Thank you for your email and I’d be happy to speak with you after we return from our spring break outing this evening or tomorrow."

Since then, Kerr said he has gone through therapy and doesn't recognize the man in the video.

"I learned a lot about myself during that time and one of the things I learned about myself was the neurodivergent that I have. Some of the impulsiveness and decision making and those type of things," he said.

Despite that, it still concerns people like Heather Fleming with the Missouri Equity Education Partnership. That's why she re-shared it on Twitter.

"This was so directly tied to equity and honestly anti-equity sentiments that I thought it was really important for the public to see that this is one of the people who wants to supposedly serve a very diverse students and families that reside in the Parkway School District and that was very concerning to me," she said.

Fleming, who taught in the Parkway School District for more than a decade, said what Kerr said in the video doesn't match up with the work the district is doing.

"I was mostly concerned and horrified that he might possibly be on the school board making decisions that are so antithetical to what Parkway has tried to be for its students," she said.

Fleming said she doesn't believe Kerr has actually learned from his actions because he opposes DEI programs.

"I don’t understand why he’s now running on a platform that would deny students and educators the ability to have the same so-called learning that he states that he had in therapy. It just shows a disconnect between what he’s saying he learned and what he is actually showing me he learned," she said.

In Kerr's candidate biography on the district's website, it says he's running for, "Mental health, district lack of academic proficiency, teacher/parent relationships, and diversity based on opinion and life experience over skin color is why I’m running for the Board of Education."

Both the school board and the district could not comment on individual candidates because of the election in April.

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