☑️ Parents were told of the group text in an email to the school community

☑️ 30 students in the text included the Head of School's 7th grade son

☑️ An attorney is reviewing disciplinary action against the students

ENGLEWOOD — Over two dozen middle school students at a private school were found to be part of a group text that included racist jokes and offensive language.

According to an email sent to the school community by Jeremy Gregersen, the Head of School of the private Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, some of the 30 7th graders didn't react while others commented and added comments.

"As I looked more closely, and as we came to find out through a thorough investigation, I was looking at forwarded screenshots of a recent text chain that included more than thirty 7th grade boys and contained highly charged language and anti-Black, racist memes. My stomach dropped even further as I found that my son was included in the text chain," Gregersen wrote in the email.

Gregersen said he has removed himself from the investigation.

Middle School Principal Jonathan Davis and the school’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging office are reviewing the school's values with all students and reaffirming that no hateful speech will be tolerated, according to the email.

The school has issued "consequences" to students to underscore those values, according to Gregersen.

"This circumstance has invited profound soul searching on a few different levels. Firstly, as a school leader I feel keenly my responsibility to those harmed by the actions of our middle schoolers and I want to do all I can to support the members of our community who have been directly and indirectly affected," Gregersen said.

He said he is "deeply disappointed" by his son's actions and expects he will apologize and make amends for his role. He has had serious conversations with his family about cell phone use, monitoring, community standards, and our expectations moving forward and encouraged parents to do the same.

The email was first obtained by NorthJersey.com.

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About 900 students from preschool age to 12th grade attend the school and are part of one of three divisions called lower, middle and upper. The school says it is "the most ethnically-diverse school in Bergen County" with students from over 80 communities in New Jersey and New York.

Tuition for the 2024-25 academic year runs between $34,070 for pre-schoolers to $59,235 for grades 6-12.

ALSO READ: Hate crimes spike: NJ officials take action to set example for U.S.

Students at the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood
Students at the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood (Dwight-Englewood School)

Previous racial issues at the Dwight-Englewood School

Dwight-Englewood School has had issues with race and anti-Semitism in recent years.

Longtime Head of School Rodney De Jarnett stepped down in 2022, a year ahead of his announced retirement, when a teacher accused the school of using critical race theory to create a “hostile culture of conformity and fear" by making white male students believe they are oppressors, according to a New York Post report.

Teacher Dana Stangel-Plowe said De Jarnett told staff on two occasions he would fire all white staff if he could and replace them with "people of color."

"Anti-Semitic and anti-Black messages" were found written on the walls of several school bathrooms in March 2019, according to a NorthJersey.com report.

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