Copyright 2014 Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC
All Rights Reserved
A photo of students from a North Jersey high school depicting the lynching of a practice dummy wearing a Paulsboro wrestling T-shirt has gone viral, invoking claims of racism.
The photo was made public Monday. It shows seven young white males - most wearing Phillipsburg High School athletic attire, two with their hoods pointed - surrounding the hanged, black figure.
Superintendent George M. Chando of the Phillipsburg School District said in a statement that the district investigated the matter and "upon conclusion of the investigation, actions were taken by the district consistent with its policies."
What action was taken and against whom was unclear Tuesday.
Paulsboro Superintendent Walter Quint said he learned of the photo Tuesday morning and spoke with Chando soon afterward.
"He was disappointed, upset, embarrassed," Quint said. "Hopefully, he's going to find some young men just made a bad decision."
Tuesday night, the Gloucester County NAACP issued a statement saying that it would request a meeting with Paulsboro officials and would seek an investigation. The NAACP also said it wanted "a letter of apology from the offenders to Paulsboro . . . and the Gloucester County community."
Phillipsburg defeated Paulsboro, a wrestling powerhouse, at a meet this month. Quint said the fans and players from the teams had always remained respectful.
"Any time something happens like this, it hurts the whole program," Quint said. "Kids, teachers, coaches, fans."
He added: "What took place in that picture is not what takes place in the gymnasium."