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Hate Letters Prompt Investigation

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles police said Thursday they are investigating white supremacy groups in the San Fernando Valley in connection with three racially derogatory letters received this week by two school administrators and a student at Grant High School in Van Nuys.

Police reported the letters also were directed at the families of Principal Robert J. Collins, who is white and has a black wife, and Assistant Principal Joseph Walker, who is black.

The letters, which had references to swastikas and white supremacy, also “contained racial statements which fall under the category of hate crimes,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Joe Garcia said.

Garcia said no suspects have been identified, but police are looking into “white supremacy groups in the area” and students.

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He said police are conducting a chemical analysis and other scientific tests on the letters, which were received over several days. The tests are to analyze handwriting and check for fingerprints, Garcia said.

Dan Isaacs, the superintendent in charge of high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, said: “It is obviously a very serious issue. We hope the party or parties responsible will be identified, but that is a matter for Los Angeles police.”

Racial slurs believed related to the letters were found Tuesday night painted on a school parking lot, police said.

School district officials and police would not reveal the contents of the letters, but Garcia said one contained a threat in addition to racial slurs.

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Collins, 48, has been principal at Grant for more than seven years. He was named California’s principal of the year in 1988 by the National Assn. of Secondary School Principals.

The honor was given in part because Grant had the state’s highest number of students who earned college credit by passing advanced placement tests in subjects such as calculus, physics and U.S. history.


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