Updated as of 8/11/2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET
The Evans Family planned a birthday party at a Kansas City waterpark Saturday. However, when they arrived the pool managers refused to let them inside and told them the party was canceled. Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation (LSPR) conducted an internal review after the family accused the park of racial discrimination, per the NY Daily News.
“A sincere apology is owed to the Evans family and our Lee’s Summit community. LSPR strives to be a respectful and inclusive organization where all members of our community feel welcome and appreciated,” said the facility in a statement.
Teens Noah and Isaiah Evans saved up $2,000 to host their birthday party with their friends at Summit Waves, according to KSHB 41 News. The waterpark directors told the teens, their family and guests upon arrival they were ‘uncomfortable’ with hosting the gathering. Chris Evans, the teens’ father, took that as the directors being uncomfortable with a large group of Black folks and filed his complaint to the Lee’s Summit city officials.
LSPR administrator Joe Snook detailed the findings of the internal investigation which didn’t address the racism accusations but instead stated the situation was a result of “miscommunication.”
Read more of the report from Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation:
The following is a summary of our investigation. On July 8, the renting party booked Summit Waves for a teen birthday party scheduled for Saturday, August 6 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and indicated 250 attendees. According to the rental forms, the event would not be publicized via social media, and fees would not be charged to attend the event. It has been our experience, that social media marketing and/or ticket sales have the potential to increase event attendance beyond the number initially stated and can result in insufficient staffing and security. The “no” answers provided on the form by the booking party did not create concerns.
The rental form indicated that 10 - 15 chaperones would be in attendance and per the rental form, security consisting of officers from the Lee’s Summit Police Department or Jackson County Sheriff’s office is required. The cost of security is paid by the rental party but is arranged and booked by LSPR. Through our investigation, LSPR found that staff failed to arrange security for the event.
LSPR made the decision to cancel the event at 5 p.m. due to the inability to contact the renting party. 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.
The park directors could’ve simply stated up front that the family’s guests had exceeded their original headcount. In the TikTok video of the incident, the crowd seemed smaller than their initial 250 guest list. However, the facility’s security camera footage shows the entire group waiting outside...which is still less than the alleged 500.
The main question is: what is there to be uncomfortable of? That comment implies something beyond crowd control concerns. Chris Evans told KSHB 41 News the park director told the family their event “didn’t represent Summit Waves.” How? It’s just a birthday party.
Both Noah and Isaiah were disappointed with the outcome. “I was hoping to have fun with my friends before we start school again, to end the summer,” Noah Evans said to KSHB 41 News. The teens’ mother, LeyShon, said Isaiah teared up from embarrassment.
The report says the family has been fully refunded and that they were offered payment for any additional fees associated with the rental.