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California school probe yields no suspect in racist messages

Classroom (FILE)
Posted at 8:56 AM, May 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-29 11:56:59-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California school district has been unable to identify who subjected a Black assistant principal to racist graffiti and messages on social media even after a six-month investigation in which 45 witnesses were interviewed.

Elysse Versher, assistant principal at the West Campus High School in Sacramento, California, told The Sacramento Bee last week that she planned to resign. She said the Sacramento City Unified School District failed to protect her from the harassment and does not take incidents of racism and hate crimes seriously, the newspaper reported Saturday.

Versher was made aware of social media posts by students last November, calling her racial slurs and criticizing her enforcement of school dress codes. She found racist graffiti painted on a wall across from her parking spot.

West Campus is a public college prep school for academic achievers. The school's dress code states that students cannot wear clothing that promotes violence, drugs or alcohol or hate speech. Students cannot wear helmets or hoods that obscure the face unless required by the student's religious practices.

Versher said back in November that she has been disrespected and even threatened by parents of non-Black students and that non-Black students do not respect her authority.

“They do not respect me as a human being," she said.

District officials expressed frustration over the results of their investigation, and said Sacramento police would continue to investigate.

“No one is satisfied with this outcome. Someone knows who committed this crime,” said Mark Harris, the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion monitor.