TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Schools are not immune from it. Racism is still a big problem on campuses and Ironwood Ridge High School is smack dab in the middle of a major controversy.
The Amphi District says it's taking the issue seriously. The principal held student assemblies and an emergency staff meeting yesterday to address the allegations. But now it's got the attention of the NAACP.
In an email sent to his players on Monday, Ironwood's football coach called it a turbulent week. The Tucson chapter of the NAACP wouldn't argue with that.
Reporter Valerie Cavazos asked President, Donna Liggins, "On a scale of 1 to 10 -- give me a number on how egregious this is?"
Liggins answered, "10. This is not good."
She set in on a meeting between parents and the principal last week. Parents reported racism is running rampant on campusand on the football field.
Clarence Boykins, of Tucson's NAACP, said, "The use of the N word -- the abuse nature of the N-word through isolation. You're not a part of us."
The Amphi district is investigating and confirmed "some of the allegations do center around the football program. And in recent days students have withdrawn from the school," but no detail is given on who and how many. The district tells 9OYS that the school became aware of the complaints only this school year.
In the email, Coach Matt Johnson wrote to his players that racially charged language will not be tolerated. He wrote: No one cares if the term was a "joke." You will still be be referred to administration. No one cares if the term was spelled in a different manner. You will still be be referred to administration.
But Boykins believes it's too little -- too late. "That can only permeate in an environment that allows it to happen."
And the coach isn't the only one on the NAACP'S radar. "I feel if the principal does not do something about this. It's going to get worse," said Liggins.
If the allegations are true, Liggins said "many of the parents are giving the principal the opportunity to straighten things out."
And she thinks he will. But if he doesn't, she said the NAACP will take action. "There's no doubt about it."