Reporting Mark Abrams
By Mark Abrams, Jenn Bernstein
COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — A cloud of unease surrounded Coatesville Area High School Monday morning, as the school community reacted to disturbing allegations that two former school district officials used racially insensitive comments in text message exchanges.
“I’m very disturbed, very concerned, very emotional, it’s upsetting,” said 10th grade parent Shannon Kirk.
The Chester County District Attorney’s office did confirm investigators have the work cell phones of former School District Superintendent Richard Como and the former Athletic Director Jim Donato.
Both resigned since the beginning of the school year after the messages were reportedly found on district-issued cell phones in August.
In the transcripts of the texts, there was racially-inappropriate language referring to students and staff and were leaked to The Daily Local newspaper of West Chester.
District Attorney Tom Hogan confirms detectives are reviewing the matter, but he would not confirm the now former superintendent and athletic director are the targets of the probe.
One senior says he knew Como and is shocked by the alleged text exchanges.
“I think it’s real disrespectful about how he talked about us, I looked up to the guy, he did a lot for us,” says senior Steven Reid. “To hear him talk about us, like how he really felt inside, it’s just bad.”
The Coatesville area chapter of the NAACP held a 75th anniversary celebration inside the historic Bethel AME Church Sunday night in South Coatesville.
Chester County Commissioner Terrence Farrell called on the African-American community for leadership and strength in the face of this adversity.
“And we as county officials, black and white together, as the NAACP, are committed to seeing that one day we live out that true American dream where we all can be free and respected as individuals,” Farrell said.
The school board is expected to formally accept the resignations of the pair Tuesday night.