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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — A derogatory slogan was spray-painted on a gym wall at Mountain Vista High School last weekend.

The term is a combination of the N-word and igloo. African-American coaches at the school say it was directed at them.

The school’s principal sent a letter to parents of football players.

“I thought it was racist,” freshman football coach Karl Coleman said. “All the black coaches there thought it was racist.”

The school did not immediately notify the community about the graffiti.

In a letter sent to football parents, principal Michael Weaver said steps were taken to “immediately cover the graffiti” after it was discovered Monday morning.

He described the act as “intolerable.”

He added investigators have been working on the “identification of students we had been working with previously regarding property damage and vandalism.”

One parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they felt “the school could have handled the situation better. This was a teachable moment for our entire school and they initially tried to brush it under the rug. I hope they do better next time.”

“It is a teachable moment when something so offensive occurs we need to make sure that students and the community understand that words do matter,” said Scott Levin, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“We also need to show support for those people that those words might be directed against.”

Weaver said the graffiti had a negative impact and hurt everyone involved.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has said no one has been charged in the case.

Weaver says he’s working to make sure the school’s culture of acceptance becomes stronger and stronger.