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Eden Prairie parents protest return of basketball coach after use of racial slur

Photo courtesy of Janell Lofton-Minta

Families of students at Eden Prairie High School came together for a second protest during the high school’s playoff basketball game with Prior Lake. The parents were there to show their support for the young Black men that decided to quit the high school’s sophomore, JV and Varsity teams after the return of their coach, David Flom. The parents stood in the bleachers holding up signs saying “We Need a Uniter, Not a Divider” and “We Are United.”

Flom was suspended from coaching this past December after using the N-word during a team meeting while telling students how not to talk on social media. The school said it would conduct an investigation. But parents say on January 23 Coach Flom returned to work without any explanation from the school administration.

“There’s been a disturbing pattern of disparate treatment of Black players for years,” said Janell Lofton-Minta, a concerned parent. “A couple of complaints have been filed and many more players have either been cut or transferred out to be treated fairly. We’ve been gathering written and audio statements from current and former players and it’s heartbreaking. That’s why we are demanding a change, so it doesn’t continue.”

Families say they reached out to the school district on February 16 to express their concerns. After two weeks without a response, they organized their first protest at the Eden Prairie vs. Minnetonka game on March 3.

Photo courtesy of Janell Lofton-Minta

“The silence is deafening. Yet, we remain hopeful that Eden Prairie School officials will respond to the needs of these young men and their families,” stated the families in a press release dated March 3.

In that same press release the parents stated their intention to peacefully protest, and that they had retained the services of an attorney. Soon after they say they were contacted by an attorney on behalf of the Eden Prairie School District requesting more information on the claims that were being made in regard to Flom’s conduct. The parents say the students were never contacted by any coaches, school staff, or district authorities to discuss the matters, despite six of the players quitting the team upon Flom’s return.

According to CBS News, a spokesperson on behalf of the district made a statement Wednesday saying, “Out of respect for the parties involved, we don’t comment on pending legal matters or personnel matters. Right now, our focus is on supporting students through the end of the season. Our primary goal in everything is ensuring we’re fulfilling our mission of inspiring each student every day – whether that’s on or off the court – and that means we need to continuously listen to multiple perspectives and think holistically about how to best serve students in the program.”

Multiple requests by BLCK Press to speak with a representative of Eden Prairie High School’s athletic department have yet to be answered.

Eden Prairie lost the game to Prior Lake 64-69.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Janell Lofton-Minta as a parent of one of the players who quit. The script has been edited to correct the error.

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