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'No substantial change has occurred' | Activists stand behind assistant principal targeted in racist incident

While local organizations say they support an independent investigation, others say the school district's response isn't enough.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar released a pre-recorded statement on Wednesday, pledging an independent investigation into the Nov. 8 hate incident, local organizations also chimed in.

Supporters of West Campus High School vice principal Dr. Elysse Versher rallied in her name outside the campus on Wednesday, angered over the slurs written on her parking spot.

Executive director for Sacramento Valley's office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Basim Elkarra said they welcome an investigation into the incident as a hate crime.

“We welcome the investigation and are disturbed by the harassment targeting Ms. Versher, a faculty member who was upholding a required dress code of masks for the safety and health of students and faculty," Elkarra said.

Former Black Lives Matter Sacramento leader Sonia Lewis said targeted racial harassment isn't new at Sacramento City Unified School District.

She alleged Versher has been targeted online in the past, and Lewis herself said she faced racism and trauma during her time working for the district between 2002 and 2009.

"Regardless of Superintendent Aguilar’s statement, 'Racist language and actions will not be tolerated. Our district will fully investigate the incident at West Campus,' we cannot trust (his) words beyond them being performative, as no substantial change has occurred to this point," Lewis said.

Speaking with ABC10 on Nov. 11, Versher said the incident led to hospitalization due to stress-induced seizures, something she said had never happened to her before.

Aguilar said in his statement on Wednesday that the graffiti targeted at Versher, and subsequently shared on social media, meets the threshold of a hate crime — and is being investigated accordingly.

"While we await the results of this investigation by Sac (police), the safety and wellbeing of Dr. Versher is foremost in our thoughts and actions at this time," he said. "Racism and hatred have no place in our school communities, and we will take appropriate actions when our investigation is completed."

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