NJ school suspended black girl for fighting racist vandal, mom says
ROBBINSVILLE — The mother of a 13-year-old Black girl who was the target of racist graffiti in a middle school bathroom says her daughter was suspended for fighting the white girl they believe is responsible for the vandalism.
"I don't condone her beating a girl up but my thing is you all didn't do anything about it. Y'all know who did it and y'all choose not to do anything so she took matters into her own hands," Rajeeah Jones said in a Facebook Live video. "You pretty much called me in for a meeting to tell me there's no leads. That's because the Robbinsille police department and the schools are in cahoots with each other."
Jones said in a Facebook Live video on Feb. 24 that she was pulling her daughter from the Pond Road Middle School until the person responsible for calling her daughter the "N-word" is identified and removed from school.
In a newer video, Jones said that her daughter returned to school and got into a fight with the white girl who wrote more graffiti in a bathroom.
"This girl was so bold enough to write graffiti on the bathroom wall with her name on it saying the nasty racial slurs she wrote about my daughter and an arrow pointing from her name to what she wrote," Jones said.
Her daughter was called a "dumb n****r bitch" in the latest graffiti, according to Jones.
She said the investigating detective didn't believe that the other girl would sign her name to the slurs on the wall.
The investigation 'has gone absolutely nowhere'
Jones said she was shown pictures by Robbinsville police of the latest incident but was not pleased that she couldn't keep the pictures.
Jones said her daughter even got a handwriting sample from the other girl and said she would "bet her life" the graffiti is a perfect match.
"Why wouldn't the Robbinsville police department detective be able to do that? Why would it take me to do that? I'm not a detective. I'm not a police officer," Jones said. "They don't want to do that. They keep making excuses for this girl."
When her daughter confronted the girl, Jones said she laughed and said nothing was going to happen to her. She said her daughter became upset and "whupped her behind." Jones' daughter was suspended for nine days as a result of the altercation.
When Jones kept her daughter home after the second incident and asked for her to return to her old school in Hamilton, she said Pond Road principal Paul Gizzo told her it would be illegal. Superintendent Brian Betze told her that her daughter would need a psychological exam before she could come back to Pond Road, she said.
According to public data for the 2020-21 school year, less than two dozen of the school's 1,023 students were black while 530 identified as white and 392 identified as Asian.
School, police respond to mother
In separate statements, Betze and Robbinsville Police Chief Mike Polaski said they were disappointed at what Jones had to say in her new video.
Because it is a juvenile matter, the superintendent and police chief could not comment on the specifics of the case, nor could they confirm or deny any other mother's claims. But both said they have met with Jones.
"I, along with Pond Road Middle School administration, have reached out in support of our student and their family regarding this matter. We are disappointed that they feel otherwise," Betze said. "The school district works in partnership with the Robbinsville Police Department to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. The district has taken steps to ensure these types of incidents do not occur again in our buildings and that our students know healthy conflict resolution. Furthermore, violence and vengeful actions of any kind should never be used or condoned as solutions to problems, perceived or otherwise."
Polaski said he and some members of his command staff met with Jones and showed her the pictures.
"I believe that her issue is she upset because she can’t have copies of the pictures at this point. This case is still an open investigation at this point with multiple layers. I can also tell you that the issue is being taken very seriously by the police department as well as the school system," Polaski said.