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Phillipsburg Investigates Racist Wrestling Dummy Photo [POLL]

Lehigh Valley Live
Lehigh Valley Live

One picture says a thousand words.

A group of teens hung what appears to be a black leather wrestling dummy – the kind you see in the accompanying illustration – from an athletic cord.

The dummy is wearing a Paulsboro Wrestling tee shirt, and a couple of the kids are wearing hoodies that come to a point at the top – seemingly portraying themselves as klansmen.

At first glance you can only imagine that the students are doing a mock-up of a lynching.

Naturally once the photo came to the attention of school officials – an investigation was launched.
Could the photo just described be considered racist?

And should the teens in question – assuming they’re members of the wrestling team – be dealt with in the harshest terms?

Or is this just a harmless prank?

According to this:

A photo that appears to show seven Phillipsburg High School boys with a wrestling dummy hanging by its neck is under investigation by administrators in the Phillipsburg School District.
Schools Superintendent George Chando confirmed the district is investigating the photo, which was obtained today by the Warren Reporter.

The photo shows the the teenagers posing around a dark wrestling dummy that appears to be wearing a red Paulsboro T-shirt and hanging by its neck from a rope.

Two of the boys next to the dummy are wearing hoods in a point.

Six of the boys in the photo are wearing garnet jackets.

One of them appears to be saluting behind the dummy as he stands on a chair.

Chando first told the Warren Reporter administrators are investigating the photo.

“This is a student matter that is currently under investigation and upon conclusion of the investigation, the district will take those actions necessary and allowable with law and district policies,” Chando said in an email to the newspaper.

In a brief phone interview tonight with The Express-Times, Chando would not comment further, including whether district officials have identified the seven teens or whether officials have an idea when the photo was taken.

“My comments that I gave to the Warren Reporter are what’s going to be available at this time,” he said. “It’s an ongoing investigation.”

Calls for comment were not immediately returned by Phillipsburg High School Principal Gregory Troxell or school board President Kevin DeGerolamo.

Wrestling coach Dave Post said: “I cannot comment on the situation, other than to say it is a private student matter that’s currently under investigation.”

Offering no other details, Chando told the Warren Reporter the district learned of the photo recently.

Phillipsburg beat Paulsboro at The Pit on Feb. 1.

Grappling dummies are commonplace items used to practice certain moves and positions. It wouldn’t be surprising if the teens had gotten a hold of one, dressed it up, and presumably – if were black leather – possibly dressed it up to look like a Paulsboro student.

But do you consider this more along the lines of a practical joke – perhaps meant to intimidate a potential rival – or something more serious?

And what, if any, consequences should the teens suffer because of it?

At best it’s insensitive – at worst, if not blatantly racist, then just completely ignorant of one of the more shameful times in the history of our country.

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