Alleged Racist Texts Behind Departure of Pa. Administrators

By Lesli A. Maxwell — September 23, 2013 1 min read
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A criminal investigation is underway in the Coatesville school district west of Philadelphia after the discovery of racist text messages about students and employees that were exchanged between the recently resigned superintendent and athletic director, according to local published reports.

Reporters at the Daily Local News obtained transcripts of the text message exchanges between former superintendent Richard Como and former athletic director Jim Donato. One conversation between the men from last June included 14 uses of the n-word to describe both African-American students and school personnel, according to the newspaper.

Remarkably, the school board apparently allowed both Como and Donato to quietly resign their positions after the text messages had been discovered by a district employee and has said little to nothing publicly about their departures. Both men stepped down during the first week of the school year. The board is expected to formally vote on their resignations at a meeting set for tomorrow.

If these messages were indeed authored by Como and Donato, they may be the most repugnant and foolish displays I’ve ever seen from school district leaders. The Coatesville district, in a racially mixed suburb of Phialdelphia, has roughly 7,000 students. More than 40 percent are African American.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.