AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– An elementary school principal is clarifying admission to an after-school tutoring program after parents complained it was only open to “children of color.”

Mission Viejo Elementary School Principal Andre Pearson has sent out a letter to parents detailing a clarification with the tutoring program after he initially told one parent in a voice mail, “It’s focused for and designed for children of color, but certainly, if we have space for other kids who have needs, we can definitely meet those needs.”

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The letter reads in part, “I want to express my regret for the communication sent last Friday describing the PASS tutoring program.”

It also states, “… the tutoring program is open for all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, and on a first come, first served basis. As your child’s principal, I am equally concerned about the success of all students who attend our wonderfully diverse school.”

The tutoring program is part of PASS which stands for Parents of Academically Successful Students. Each Cherry Creek School has a parent leadership team that runs the program.

“It’s part of our excellence in equity initiative to close the achievement gap,” said Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole.

Amole said it was a misunderstanding.

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A sign up sheet sent home to parents indicated the tutoring program was only for students of color.

Angela Green Garland, the parental coordinator for Mission Viejo Elementary, said that all students have always been involved in the tutoring program, despite what the sign up sheet indicated.

An image of the ad (credit: CBS)

An image of the ad (credit: CBS)

The Cherry Creek School District’s website states that “PASS is a parent leadership group dedicated to closing the achievement gap for our African-American and Hispanic or Latino students.”

Nicole Cox’s 10-year-old daughter attends Mission Viejo Elementary and needs tutoring. She is white and Cox felt she was being left out of the program based on her race.

“I just want every single person to be treated equally,” said Cox.

“We deeply regret that they got that communication,” said Amole.

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Mission Viejo Letter