OUACHITA PARISH (KTVE/KARD) — On Monday, January 16, 2023, the public became aware of a text message thread that took place between a coach for the Ouachita Parish Junior High School and the school’s Office Secretary, Nelwyn Fontana. In the thread, Fontana made racist remarks about Martin Luther King Jr. Day while informing the coach that his players were out of school for the holiday.

During the conversation, the coach appeared to be shocked by the comments as he stated, “Huh? Say what? Where did that come from?” Fontana then appeared to be apologetic about the comments and claimed she sent the text message by mistake.

KTVE/KARD spoke with the Ouachita Parish School Board and officials confirmed that the dialogue between Fontana and the coach was real. Officials also confirmed that Fontana is no longer employed by the school board.

In response to the incident, Principal Darren Wheeler of the Ouachita Parish Junior High School stated:

Unfortunately, on Friday evening, a text message which contained a racial slur from an employee was brought to our attention. That employee is no longer employed by the Ouachita Parish School System. We do not condone any form of racism in our schools and community. Thank you for your time, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Darren Wheeler, Principal of Ouachita Parish Junior High School