Students, parents show support for vice principal targeted by racist graffiti

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Several West Campus High School students and parents rallied behind the school’s vice principal and said they’re disgusted by the racist messages sent to her over her enforcement of the dress code.

“This is a great school, so that’s what makes this so troubling,” said parent Keith Barnes.

Barnes has children who are senior and sophomore students at West Campus High School and was surprised when a note to parents went out saying their assistant principal was the victim of a hate crime. 

“It’s not necessary,” Barnes said. “I mean, whatever differences they have with the vice principal, that can be talked out, but that sort of reaction is not good.”

Dr. Elysse Versher was the target of a series of racist social media posts that stemmed from her enforcement of the school’s dress code, the principal initially reported. Her parking space was also targeted with racist graffiti.

“The reality is since the pandemic hit, people are angry,” said retired state worker Patricia Dansby.

While Dansby was shocked to hear a school administrator was the victim of a hate crime, she’s not surprised it happened within the Sacramento City Unified School District. 

“I advocated against Sac City because of the lack of education for most people of color,” Dansby said. “It’s not just our children, a lot of times it’s the adults who are angry.”

Some students like senior Eleanor Smiley said knowing a fellow classmate potentially painted the racial slurs is disturbing. 

“I mean we’ve got the Black Student Union, Gender Sexuality Alliance, a lot of that. We’ve got a couple mental health clubs, so it’s kind of out of left field that someone would do something like this,” Smiley told FOX40.

“I’m struggling just to be at work,” Dr. Versher said before breaking down in tears. “I’m struggling, I am at a breaking point.”

For years, Dr. Versher said she’s been called racial slurs multiple times by students and parents at West Campus. She now wants more action from the district after this most recent incident. 

“This is what happens when racism and privilege go unchecked, and it’s gone unchecked at this school for years,” she said. “And so, what I would hope our district would do is really evaluate systems. How did it get this far?”

While the school district and Sacramento police continue to comb through social media threads to find the culprits, parents and students will continue coming to Dr. Versher’s defense. 

“I got up at 5 a.m. and I’m going by to let this principal know that I’m going to be here and support,'” Dansby said.

“It’s really disappointing if it’s someone from this school, but it doesn’t matter who it is, they get punished,” Smiley said.

Dr. Versher said she thanks everyone for supporting, her but after suffering from severe anxiety over this situation she is considering taking time off to be with her family.

The Sacramento City Unified School District issued a statement about the incident.

“Racism and racist language are deplorable, and hurtful to our entire community of students and staff, especially when directed at specific individuals,” said Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar. “Sac City Unified school sites should be safe places for all, and centers of support that provide opportunities for all students to learn, grow, and reach their greatness. Racist language and actions will not be tolerated. Our District will fully investigate the incident at West Campus.” 

SCUSD

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't miss

Latest News

More News