Pa. school officials allowed to resign amid furor over texts



Yolanda Beattie reacts to the Coatesville Area School District school board meeting in Coatesville, Pa., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Superintendent Richard Como and and the high school’s athletic director, Jim Donato, used district-owned cell phones to exchange a series of “shockingly racist” text messages in June. Both resigned abruptly during the first week of school and the school board accepted their resignation after 3 hours of public comment by parents, residents, and students. (AP Photo/Daily Local News, Vinny Tennis)


COATESVILLE, Pa. (AP) — A southeastern Pennsylvania school board allowed two top administrators to resign despite calls to terminate them following allegations that they exchanged racist and sexist text messages on their district cellphones.

The Coatesville Area school board voted Tuesday night to accept the resignations of Superintendent Richard Como and high school Athletic Director James Donato after hearing repeated and vehement calls for their dismissal at a meeting attended by hundreds of residents.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ( ) says school board president Neil Campbell said the action would spare a long legal battle and vowed that Como will not get “one red cent” from his remaining contract.

Campbell gave a detailed timeline of the events leading to last month’s departures and said Como’s resignation will “get (him) away from our kids as soon as possible.”

His statement, however, was interrupted several times by boos from the crowded auditorium, with some in attendance waving signs from their seats.

Board member Tonya Thames-Taylor cast the only vote against accepting the resignations. After the vote, she and the other board members left the meeting without commenting.

Parents and residents who spoke at the meeting overwhelmingly called for the board to fire the men rather than accept the resignations submitted Aug. 29 after the allegations came to light.

Ann Wertz, who has two children in the district, said allowing the two to resign would indicate that they controlled the board “that should instead be holding them accountable.”

“Your purpose is to work with the school district with integrity,” she said.


Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer,


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