By Michael Rubinkam Associated Press
Two officials at a large southeastern Pennsylvania school district exchanged “shockingly racist” text messages on district phones, a prosecutor said Monday.
Prosecutors learned of the messages during an investigation into the Coatesville Area School District, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan told The Associated Press.
“The text messages that we reviewed were of a shockingly racist nature,” he said. “They looked like something from 1813, not 2013.”
The Daily Local News of West Chester reported that Superintendent Richard Como and the high school’s athletic director, Jim Donato, used district-owned cellphones to exchange a series of racist texts in June. Both resigned abruptly during the first week of school.
A message left for Como wasn’t immediately returned. A phone listing for Donato wasn’t immediately available.
Hogan said that once he learned of the racist texts, he requested that the district turn over copies of the messages and the phones used to send them, and the district complied. He declined further comment pending the outcome of the investigation.
The office of interim superintendent Angelo Romaniello Jr. referred comment to the school district’s attorney, who did not immediately respond to an email and phone call from the AP.
A large minority of students in Coatesville, a steel town 35 miles west of Philadelphia, are black.
News of the racist texts emerged as the Coatesville chapter of the NAACP celebrated its 75th anniversary over the weekend. The president of the chapter, Tonya Thames Taylor, is a school board member.