NJ student’s blackface photo prompts safety scare at high school
For the second time in the past month, a picture of a New Jersey student wearing blackface has sparked controversy and discussion.
A Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School student who posted the picture of himself last weekend in blackface in front of a confederate flag captioned “gotta love spf” never intended for it to go viral, police told NBC 4 New York.
Rumors spread that the photo represented a threat, prompting some parents to keep their students home on Monday, parent Laura Vacca told NBC 4 New York.
Many students and parents are upset the student, who was not identified, is not being disciplined.
The photo was the subject of discussion at Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.
In a joint letter, Fanwood Police Chief Chief Rich Trigo and Scotch Plains Police Chief Ted Conley said that State Police and the state Department of Homeland Security were made aware of the photo.
"All of this from a photograph, of a juvenile, who thought that he was in the company and privacy of his friends," the chiefs said. "Furthermore, we recognize that the content of the post contained hateful symbols, this is very serious and not tolerated in our communities. Reposting these symbols is perpetuating the hate."
Conley and Trigo said parents need to be role models for their children about posting on social media.
"When people post hearsay, they can cause panic to the rest of the members of our communities," adding: "Think before you post."
Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School had an enrollment of 1,557, the majority of which are white.
School officials in Watchung Hills Regional High School offered voluntary diversity awareness discussions after a student was photographed wearing a blackface costume at a private Halloween party.
The photo was circulated on social media showing a white student wearing black makeup standing next to another white student dressed in a cowboy hat and whip. The pair were described online as a slave and slave owner.
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