Lawyer: Whistleblower and IT director locked out of computer systems by CASD

TextingThe Coatesville Area School District texting scandal took another turn Wednesday after the head IT employee and whistleblower was informed that he no longer had access to the district’s computer network, according to his attorney.

According to attorney Samuel Stretton, of West Chester, CASD Director of Technology Abdallah Hawa was informed Wednesday that his access to the district’s entire computer system was removed.

“He’s totally cut out. They’re not dealing with him at all, they shut him out of his computer entirely,” Stretton said Thursday.

The move came days after Stretton issued a letter to school board members accusing Acting Superintendent Angelo Romaniello and district solicitor James Ellison of harassing his two clients, Hawa and Acting Assistant Superintendent Teresa Powell.

Ellison did not immediately return requests for comment Thursday afternoon.

Hawa and Powell were the two whistleblowers who helped uncover the racist and sexist text messages exchanged on the district-issued cell phones of former superintendent Richard Como and former Director of Athletics and Activities Jim Donato.

Como and Donato abruptly resigned during the first week of the school year. The school board repeatedly denied to comment on the departures until transcripts of the text messages, which contained numerous racial slurs and derogatory comments about students and faculty, were published by the Daily Local News. The newspaper was the first to publish the exchanges.

Stretton said Powell was also relieved of many of her regular duties and was removed from a hiring committee. He also repeated his earlier calls for the removal of Romaniello and Ellison.

“The discrimination and harassment of my clients continues,” Stretton said. “Nothing is going to change until the solicitor and acting superintendent are removed and someone independent is brought in.”

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