Lexington-Fayette NAACP officials held a news conference Tuesday outside Lexington Catholic High School to protest allegations of racial harassment and discrimination at the school.
"There has been a culture of it systemically for decades," said the NAACP Vice President Adrian Wallace.
Wallace and William Saunders, Lexington-Fayette NAACP president, called again for the resignation of the school’s principal, Sally Stevens, and its president, Steve Angelucci, “as they have perpetuated systemic racism and bigotry within the institution by insolently disregarding numerous complaints and therefore further dehumanizing in the process,” Wallace said.
NAACP officials also asked again for an audit or investigation of Lexington Catholic’s athletic program, requesting the Kentucky High School Athletic Association investigate allegations of football recruiting.
“There must be an investigation and an end put to this unhealthy cycle of exploitation,” Wallace wrote to KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett in a letter dated Monday.
Tackett said that as of Tuesday afternoon “we have not received a letter from the NAACP or any request for information.”
In response to the news conference, Angelucci released a statement that said:
“The decision of the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP to rally in front of Lexington Catholic High School is disappointing. Lexington Catholic has already announced its commitment to address issues of diversity with its engagement of Dr. Roger Cleveland and the associate firm, WYRevolution. That process has already started.”
Marc Logan, who played for the University of Kentucky and the NFL, was at the news conference. He told the Herald-Leader that his son, while attending Lexington Catholic, was called the “n-word” by another student at Lexington Catholic in 2012 and Logan was upset that administrators did not initially contact him.
“I had to hear it from my son, but they called the other parent” of the student who made the racial slur, Logan said.
Logan said he was later hired by the school as a counselor and was terminated.
Last month, NAACP officials made several recommendations to the school, including three meetings for parents on “white privilege, racial hatred” and racial bias.
In response, the high school's board of trustees authorized the formation of a School Life and Culture Committee that will oversee diversity, ethics and cultural competency initiatives within the school.
The board released a statement last month that said the trustees do not “in any manner, shape or form condone harassment — racial, sexual or other bullying tactics that could be considered threatening. Our position will continue to be to respond quickly and judiciously if events such as the one recently reported ever occur.”
Wallace and Saunders said on Tuesday they did not think forming the committee was an adequate response.
The NAACP officials have also met with Catholic Diocese of Lexington Bishop John Stowe, who launched an internal investigation.
Saunders said Tuesday that he was concerned about Stowe's lack of awareness about the systemic issues.
Amos Jones, a Washington, D.C., civil rights attorney who is originally from Lexington, has said he represents five former Lexington Catholic students who separately allege they were harassed or assaulted.
The recent turmoil began after a student’s family reported he was targeted for harassment and threats in text messages and other communications by at least one football teammate. Investigators said the harassment was racially motivated, and charged a 17-year-old boy April 7 with harassing communications and third-degree terroristic threatening.
Wallace said that student who was harassed was also improperly recruited for the football team.