Lee NAACP to meet with NFMHS principal

Posted at 10:17 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 22:17:14-05

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Lee County NAACP Chapter is meeting with the Principal of North Fort Myers High School after racist graffiti was found near the dugout of the school, apparently targeting the baseball coach, Tavaris Gary.

This isn't the first time the high school has found itself the center of racial controversy this year.

James Muwakkil, the Lee County NAACP's President, said they're coming to the school Friday morning to discuss what the Principal is doing about the racism seen at the school.

Muwakkil is a North Fort Myers High School graduate.

He said when he went to the school in 1978, he dealt with racism daily.

When he heard about the graffiti with the N-word and a swastika targeting Gary, he wasn't surprised.

The Principal told Fox 4 on Monday the graffiti was intolerable, and said those responsible will be punished.

"If they are found to be students here at North Fort Myers High School defacing property and vandalizing the school, then the school will be taking disciplinary action against them," Principal Matt Mederios said.

Muwakkil said that's not enough, citing other racial controversies surrounding the school.

One year ago, a racially charged video showed the former head baseball coach, David Bechtol, his son, and another student hammering an  image of Gary with a noose around his neck.

In August, a student parked her truck with confederate flags on campus.

A group of kids urged the district to ban the flags on all campuses, but the district said  it's a first amendment right to fly them.

"It's North Fort Myers High School. We're still in the south and that stuff still happens," student Anthony Edwards said.

Muwakkil said it's time for that attitude to change.

"There's issues in the school district regarding race, and the school district is failing to address it, but it's not going away," he said. "Nobody wants to be called a n*****. When you think about that, that's pretty ugly. And that's subhuman. And it's nasty."

Muwakkil said the Principal was very receptive to the idea of a meeting, and is hoping to help the district resolve this issue.

Muwakkil added the local NAACP will not give up on this until racism is erased in Lee County Schools.