OAKTON, Va. (DC News Now) — Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has launched a third-party investigation into a racist email sent to the current cheer coach at Oakton High School.
The email was sent at the end of March, however, the Fairfax County NAACP and some cheer parents didn’t see it until the end of April.
The NAACP expressed outrage at the delay.
“As someone who sees these messages all the time, this is the worst one I’ve seen,” said Sujatha Hampton, second vice president, and education care with Fairfax County NAACP.
The email said, “Many of us would not feel comfortable with another colored individual coaching cheerleading at Oakton. While this may be seen as racist or having a prejudice against certain races of people, the last two years have shown that this is just not something that has worked out. Our school and history of coaches have been predominantly white. Many of the girls were shocked to see another coach last season with such dark and strong features.”
“The tone of the email was so antiquated, egregious. The way I’ve been saying it’s like 1950s massive resistance type messaging,” Hampton said.
The coach mentioned in the email, mentioned by name is Faith Dabrio, who was 23 at the time, coaching from August to November 2022.
“The color of my skin does not determine how I do my job,” Dabrio said. “I loved coaching and I loved those girls.”
Dabrio said she was shocked and blindsided, seeing the letter after a parent shared it with her on May 2.
“I shouldn’t have been the last one to be informed but I definitely think there needs to be, in addition to the third party investigation, there needs to be a training, a diversity and equity training,” Dabrio said.
FCPS released a statement that said, “FCPS works hard each day to create a school environment where all students and staff are valued and feel accepted and supported. We condemn all hateful behavior. FCPS has attempted to establish the origin of the email as part of our own internal investigation. Unfortunately, we have been unable to do so. Moving forward, we intend to retain a third-party investigator to delve further into this matter.”
Hampton isn’t satisfied and thinks the district should have said, “Until then cheer is canceled because the kids aren’t safe. That’s what I really believe. The kids aren’t safe as long as that culture is pervasive there.”
“We will provide an update once the investigation is complete and we determine what, if any, action can be taken by Fairfax County Public Schools to address this situation further,” said Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid.