Columbia School Board President Condemns Post Of Local Donor
Columbia School Board President Helen Wade has condemned a Facebook post made by Wayne Sells, for whom Rock Bridge High School’s football field is named.
The Columbia School Board will hold a special closed session on the matter Friday, according to an email from district spokesperson Michelle Baumstark. It will discuss changing the field's name at a public work session Sept 24.
Sells made a profane Facebook post late Monday, which school officials became aware of Tuesday, expressing discontent with NFL athletes who knelt during a recent game. The post has since been taken down.
Sells has been a prominent figure in the Columbia community. The Wayne Sells Family Activity Field was named after him after he donated $100,000 so the field could be created. He has also been supportive of the athletic programs at Hickman High School.
KMIZ TV reported that Sells sent a letter to district authorities apologizing for his post and asking that his name be removed from the field. He suggested renaming it Veterans Field, according to KMIZ.
Wade's statement, which was posted by School Board member David Seamon, says,“The post using profane language to refer to NFL players that took a knee during the playing of the national anthem as well as others who the author perceived to be affiliated with ‘all lives matter’ was insulting to put it mildly, and racist to put it bluntly.
“The content of the post is not representative of the beliefs of RBHS, of CPS or of our Board, and appropriate action should be taken — beginning with outreach,” it said.
Wade’s statement said the School Board plans to rename the Wayne Sells Family Activity Field “with all due expediency.”
Superintendent Peter Stiepleman endorsed Wade’s statement.
“Black Lives Matter. This is not acceptable and I have learned is not the first time this type of post has been done. It violates our values and our principles,” Stiepleman shared on his Twitter feed.
Baumstark's email noted that despite the fact Sells' gifts to the district are appreciated, his post is not representative of the school system's values.
"The school district has reached out to the Sells family regarding the removal of the name from the field," Baumstark said.
On Wednesday, the executive board of the nonprofit Race Matters, Friends issued a statement calling for the removal Sells’ name from the football field.
"White Supremacy should have no home in the community, particularly in our public schools and that includes the Sells Family Athletic Dining Hall at the University of Missouri," the statement said.