Black vice principal resigns, says Sacramento school failed to protect her from racist messages

·2 min read
Marcus D. Smith/msmith@sacbee.com

A Black Sacramento high school administrator who said she was targeted in a series of racially motivated incidents on campus late last year is resigning from the Sacramento City Unified School District.

West Campus High School Assistant Principal Elysse Versher told the district this week that she will not return for the next school year.

She disclosed in the message that harassment she experienced harmed her health and led her to consider suicide.

“After experiencing multiple stressed induced seizures on November 10, 2021, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt in December 2021, I now have the strength to leave this hostile working environment for good. For these reasons, I am resigning from my position as Assistant Principal effective immediately,” said Versher in an email to the district.

The incidents included an incident where the n-word was painted on a campus building near her parking spot in November 2021 and a series of hateful messages that anonymous people posted to her social media accounts. The school district opened an investigation into the incidents, but has not announced any findings.

Versher joined the school district three years ago and and has documented instances of vandalism, criminal mischief, sexual harassment that included demeaning and degrading language.

She said the inappropriate behavior came from students, parents, faculty, and staff. She said the district did not protect her from it.

“Unfortunately, the district has not taken this seriously and still does not take incidents of racism and hate crimes seriously, so I have to seek accountability through the legal system,” she said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.

Versher explained that she does not feel that she can safely return to work, as she subjected to discrimination and harassment.

“SCUSD gave me no choice but to resign from a career I worked so hard to prepare for and enjoyed. I’m devastated that the district did not take the harassment and trauma I experienced seriously. (I wish) they followed up with actionable measure,” Versher said.

She described herself as “hanging on by a thread”.

A school district representative said that an investigation will be completed and available next week.

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