High school closed due to threat, parents say school has problems with racism

Vanden High School in Fairfield canceled all classes and school activities for Wednesday as school district officials and police investigated a threat of violence. The school district would not reveal any details of the threat.

"Out of an abundance of caution we decided to cancel school and all school activities at Vanden high school," said Pam Conklin, superintendent of Travis Unified School District

But that does not appear to be the extent of the problems at the high school. African-American parents of one student said their son, a senior at Vanden, has been the target of racist incidents, including graffiti spray painted near the baseball and softball fields.

"I never intended in my wildest day that in 2019 my son would have to deal with this," said Edward Russell Jr., the student's father.

The graffiti included a swastika, derogatory comments about lesbians and the student's nickname was also included.

The family said there have been other racial slurs from students and that the school district hasn't taken serious disciplinary action.

The family has enlisted the support of the San Francisco NAACP, which is calling for an investigation.

"Unfortunately the adults who happen to be in charge have not given the leadership to say in no uncertain terms that hate, bigotry and evil acts will not be tolerated," said Rev. Amos Brown who heads the San Francisco NAACP.

The school district would not say if the racism charges and the threat against the school are connected. 

"Unfortunately, Vanden High School was the victim of a number of offensive images earlier this month. We were able to identify those responsible," said Conklin.

The family said police found four students responsible for the graffiti, but said two of them are still attending class.

"We were able to administer the appropriate disciplinary action pursuant to California. education code," said Conklin.

"All we want is for our son to go to school without having to look over his shoulder," said Russell.
 The school district is expected to announce later when the school will reopen.