COATESVILLE, Pa., (CBS) — An emotional night in Chester County as parents voiced their anger over a school texting scandal in Coatesville.
Hundreds of community members packed the school board meeting and those who spoke out, demanded the termination of the two district officials accused of exchanging racist and sexist texts (see related story).
However, in vote, the school board accepted the resignations of Superintendent Richard Como and athletic director Jim Donato Tuesday night.
The meeting lasted almost four hours with passionate pleas from the public for Como and Donato’s dismissals.
Dr. Teresa Powell, District senior administrator said, “I absolutely love my job but I love being a person with integrity even more.”
Powell, one of the speakers during the public comment session, became the first Coatesville School District official to go on the record, with the district’s IT director by her side, confirming the authenticity of the racially charged text messages in published reports.
“There are many many things swirling out there about the text messages that were released on Sunday. The article they printed was the absolute truth,” Powell said.
The racist and sexist text messages between two top Coatesville School District leaders, Como and Donato, included repeated use of the “N” word and other disturbing, bigoted comments on district issued cell phones.
Both resigned earlier this month after the messages were discovered in August.
Tuesday afternoon, District Attorney Tom Hogan confirmed detectives are reviewing the text transcripts, as part of an ongoing investigation into a number of issues brought to their attention which could include financial matters.
Tuesday night, Board President Neil Campbell explained the DA’s office was investigating “potential kickbacks” involving high school football camps.
Dissatisfied, speaker after speaker, they demanded the board to fire Como and Donato. When board members voted to allow Como and Donato to resign, the parents we spoke to were outraged.
Mikeysa Wilson of Coatesville said, “I don’t have anything to say anymore, they should have fired them.”
Claire Bessick of Coatesville added, “They should be fired, they did wrong, you do wrong on your job, don’t you get fired?”
Board members did not comment following the meeting but hours before the vote, they explained that Como and Donato, as public officials, cannot be terminated without due process. They went onto say that in their view, the best solution was to allow the two to resign and in doing so, not waste tax dollars on legal costs and put the focus back on students.
But most parents left the meeting in disbelief and many called on the board members to resign themselves.