An Illinois family says they suffered discrimination and mistreatment during an out-of-state camping trip.
Megan Jones, of Alton, took her seven biracial children camping about 80 miles southwest at KOA Campgrounds, where she said the couple who franchise the campground treated her children “like garbage,” reported The Kansas City Star.
Jones said the couple was rude to her children multiple times, and she said the woman called an older child “dirty” for allowing her 5-year-old brother to draw on the ground with chalk — and threatened to kick the family out if they didn’t clean up the marks.
“She said because my 5 year old should know better than to write on the ground with chalk and said that she also didn’t want OUR KIND in the bathrooms and shower house,” Jones wrote on Facebook. “What do you mean OUR KIND? Hold on … is it because my children are biracial that you are treating us like this?”
The woman then said she wanted the family to leave and offered a refund.
“So not only did she treat my kids like garbage, but she didn’t want us there because the color of their skin,” Jones wrote. “Yes, we left. Not to make her happy but bc we felt out of place. I have to tell my kids she is wrong and that most people aren’t like this.”
The local KOA campground confirmed the incident and apologized on Facebook, saying all staffers would undergo training to ensure they welcomed all guests.
“We will not make excuses, nor try to relay our intentions,” KOA said. “Regardless of how we viewed the situation, if we made this family feel unwelcome it’s clear we have work to do. We will be looking hard at ourselves and our staff to ensure we truly embody the KOA mission that all are welcome. While we have long believed it, actions need to speak louder than words and thoughts.”
The National Kampgrounds of America also reached out to the family and offered an apology, the Star reported.
“They spoke of their love of camping and their intent to continue to camp with KOA in the future,” the organization said in a statement. “We welcome the chance to provide them with the camping experience that they and all members of the Black community deserve.”