Apr 2, 2010 9:59 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Racist graffiti on local playground sparks outrage

The president of the NAACP in Colorado Springs is calling for an investigation of graffiti found at a school playground in District 49. The district was informed of the graffiti Friday morning and it was removed immediately.

News First 5 reporter Abby Lane will have a report on the incident at 5 and 6 pm.

Here is a copy of the letter sent by chapter president Rosemary Lytle to Dr. Bradley Shoeppey, Superintendent of Dist. 49:

Dr. Bradley Schoeppey:

The Colorado Springs Branch NAACP is investigating a complaint of the presence of racist graffiti on the playground equipment at Evans International Elementary School.

As you will see in the attached photos taken by our Education Committee, the n-word clearly defaces the equipment on which the children at Evans Elementary, a Title 1 school, play and learn. We understand from the complainants that this was reported to Mr. Dustin Horras, school principal, during the first week of school -- August 2009. No action has been taken by Mr. Horras to remove the offensive graffiti.

According to our complainants, some staff state the graffiti has been on the playground equipment since the 2008-2009 school year. Yet, the principal -- who is the building leader -- has done nothing to see that it was removed.

The graffiti could still be seen on the playground as of the date these photos were taken, March 30, 2010.

The NAACP finds the inaction of the principal as offensive and unacceptable behavior by an employee of a public school and as an egregious lack of building leadership. We view his inaction to be as offensive as the actual act of spray painting on the school's playground equipment. If it is determined that this has existed unchecked for nearly an entire school year, Mr. Horras should be disciplined, up to and including his removal as principal. No child should have to learn in such an environment and no staff member should have to work in one.

The NAACP and its Education Committee Co-Chairs demand the immediate removal of the equipment that contains this racially-charged word. We also request a meeting with you within the next five business days to discuss a plan for ensuring accountability and remediation for students and staff who have had to endure this indignity for so long.

I can be reached using the contact information below.


Rosemary Harris Lytle, MPA

Colorado Springs Branch NAACP




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