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ARVADA, Colo. – A former Faith Christian Academy teacher has filed discrimination charges with state and federal officials, and a current student describes seeing a classmate wearing a “KKK outfit” and putting a “toy revolver to a minority student’s head.”
Those are just some of the new developments since Denver7 broke the story of concerns about racism coming to a head at Faith Christian Academy in Arvada.
Students, alumni and parents are speaking out on social media using the hashtag #TruthatFCA.
They describe their own experiences at the private Christian school and offer support for Gregg Tucker, the teacher and chaplain fired within weeks of holding a panel on race and faith.
School Superintendent Andrew Hasz sent a letter to families saying the decision was mutual and told Denver7 in March the panel had nothing to do with Tucker leaving.
Tucker said it was not mutual and just days ago filed discrimination charges against FCA and Faith Bible Chapel International with the Colorado Division of Civil Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Meanwhile, a still-growing group of parents, alumni and others connected to the FCA community formed the FCA Coalition for Racial Reconciliation and Justice as a resource for people who to connect and know they are not alone and that their stories and experiences are believed.
The group says since Denver7’s initial report that there has been a steady stream of new testimonials are still coming to light as people develop the courage to share their experiences.
The coalition has collected dozens of statements—nearly 40 and counting—from current and former students who describe what appears to be decades of systemic racial bias and discrimination.
One statement received last month came from a student who describes himself as a "Faith Christian High School Athlete," who recounts an incident during last year's football camp.
He said a student "...dressed in an FCA shirt, came down the hallway with a white bed sheet over his head. It was easily understood as symbolic or in reference to a KKK outfit. He then proceeded to use a toy revolver to execute a racial minority member of the team. He, the student in the KKK outfit, did this by putting the toy revolver to the minority student's head."
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, went on to say he and other witnesses reported the incident right after it happened, but that "nobody was punished "and "the person who dressed up as KKK was still allowed to play for the rest of the season."
Many former students have also shared their experiences in recent weeks.
A woman who identifies herself as Beth l. said, "I graduated from FCA in 1997 and during my time there faced racism, classism, sexism, and very serious episodes of sexual harassment from other students that went unpunished. I have come to view the school as a very dangerous environment that harms the students who don't fit in the categories of white, rich, and ‘Christian.’"
Families said they have also been waiting on a response to a reconciliation document they submitted to FCA board members with 90 signatures.
It asks the school to commit to outside diversity training for staff, a stronger race policy for students with better enforcement, more diversity of the all-white high school faculty and a meeting with the board.
FCA Superintendent Andrew Hasz said he did not have time for an interview, but in an email to Marchetta said his administrative team and board dedicated hundreds of hours to address concerns and followed up on each one, taking "strong corrective action where needed."
He also said future staff training and revision of the student handbook are in the works to add clarification that racism has no place in their school.
FCA has 30 days to respond to the state and federal discrimination complaints filed by Tucker.
Hasz’s full statement can be found below:
We had a wonderful conclusion to our school year and as a community remain committed to a culture where students love one another. We do realize that in dealing with people, this will never be done flawlessly, however, it is all about helping students grow, and we are grateful to work with so many who live this out beautifully.
Our administrative team and board dedicated hundreds of hours in the months earlier this year to make themselves available to visit with all persons wishing to comment or share any concerns. We followed up on each concern brought to our attention and took strong corrective action where needed. This summer our administrative team is making plans for future training and is also revising student handbooks to add clarification to policies and procedures which reflect our stated position that racist behavior has no place at our school.
The open board meeting you are asking about was a new idea our parent organization and board members brainstormed and planned last summer and fall. It was disappointing that the events of the spring resulted in the meeting being cancelled, however I’m sure those groups will revisit the idea for this next year.
Hopefully this is helpful in answering your questions.