The abrupt departure of the Coatesville Area School District superintendent and another senior administrator came two weeks after numerous exchanges of inappropriate and racially-charged text messages were discovered on their district-issued cell phones, and multiple sources have indicated that school board officials were not only aware of the exchanges, but were prepared to allow the pair to remain in their positions until the conduct prompted a criminal investigation, the Daily Local News has learned.
The Coatesville Area School Board is expected to formally vote to approve the resignations of former Superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato at Tuesday’s public meeting. Como announced his “retirement” through a letter posted on the district’s website on August 29. Reports of Donato’s resignation surfaced several days later. Both came unexpectedly during the first week of the school year.
Text messages exchanged from school-issued cell phone numbers between Como and Donato contained repeated use of a commonly known derogatory phrase referring to African American or black individuals. In one instance, the term was used 14 times in one conversation.
The school district has not commented on the resignations, but two sources with knowledge of the situation said the departures were the direct result of discoveries found on Donato’s cell phone. More disturbingly, the sources said the school board was made aware of the text messages and was prepared to allow Como and Donato to remain in their positions until the transcripts were leaked to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, prompting a criminal investigation.