ALLENTOWN — A Monmouth County high school student was suspended after posting a meme to Instagram after Election Day in what the school's principal called an "appalling" situation."

According to a message on the high school's website from Allentown High School Principal Constance DeNicola Embley, the student posted a picture on Wednesday, Nov. 9 Embley of black students waiting in the cafeteria with the caption "Last free meal." The photo was reported by students to school officials, who Embley said "immediately investigated" and verified the posting as coming from the student's phone.

"According to our code of conduct, the incident was classified as a bias/racial incident, and the following actions were taken: Notification to the State Police (bias/racial incidents are against the law), notification to the school’s Affirmative Action Officer, and immediate suspension from school," Embley wrote. "No racial/bias incident will be tolerated at Allentown High School."

Embley said she was also concerned that her lack of a comment to a Trentonian reporter about the picture would be perceived as inaction, and said she could not comment on student issues or student discipline.

"Not commenting publicly on a student issue, does not mean the issue is not dealt with in the most serious manner allowed by our code of conduct," Embley wrote in her message, which was also emailed to parents.

While not making a direct connection between the meme and the election, Embley said "my first concern is how they behave in our house: Allentown High School. Nothing excuses poor behavior or racial and ethnic intolerance." She said racial and bias incidents will not be tolerated at the school.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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