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D65 superintendent reports phone threats, vandalized car

He links incidents to lawsuit filed by teacher alleging discrimination against whites by the district.

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Devon Horton.

Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Superintendent Devon Horton says he received “two voice mail messages containing racial slurs and threats of bodily harm,” as an apparent outgrowth of a reverse discrimination lawsuit filed against the school system.

In a message posted on the district website, Horton also says his “car window was broken while parked in a District lot by what appeared to be an intentional act of vandalism.”

The civil rights lawsuit was filed in late June by a white teacher in the district, alleging the school system segregated teachers and students by race for certain activities, used curriculum materials that encouraged students to hate each other and taught that “whiteness” is a tool of oppression.

In his message, Horton says District 65 will “vigorously defend against this baseless and inflammatory lawsuit,” which he described as part of a “concerted national effort … to target racial equity-based initiatives in K-12 schools.”

The law firm that filed the suit, the Georgia-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, has been involved in a number of conservative causes.

Horton says the lawsuit “subverts” Constitutional and civil rights laws “by taking out of context and misrepresenting our District’s lawful, sensitive and responsible” activities towards advancing equity.

This is not the first time District 65 or its officials have been targeted by hateful communications.

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, the district received several racist or hostile emails and letters regarding how students would be prioritized for a return to in-person learning.

Also, while it was never directly connected to any school-related issue, anti-gay slurs on paper were found inside the car of School Board member Biz Lindsay-Ryan.

No one was ever arrested regarding the car or email incidents.

District 65 has reported the latest messages and vandalism to the police.

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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