MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Officials at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey issued a letter to parents Wednesday reporting two incidents involving racial slurs and racist graffiti.
South Orange Maplewood School District Supt. John J. Ramos and Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron said in the letter that in one incident, students were allegedly calling each other n*****s, b*****s, and hoes. In addressing the students’ use of the words, the teacher reportedly repeated tem, the letters said.
“If true, this was clearly unacceptable and will be addressed according,” the letter said. “One of our administrators will be joining the class tomorrow to follow up on the incident.”
In a separate incident, officials found graffiti in a student bathroom that involved the words, “KKK for Nazis,” as well as other sexist and racist words and a swastika, the letter said.
School officials are investigating both incidents, and the graffiti incident has also been reported to Maplewood police, the letter said.
The letter said officials know the incidents do not reflect the values of students or staff as a whole.
“They do, however, highlight the work we still have to do as a community to make sure our young people know that there is no place for derogatory, racist or anti-Semitic language or images in our classrooms and other school facilities, or in our community, and that they will not be tolerated,” the letter said.
The letter said recent meetings between school officials, staff, and members of the Columbia High School Black Student Union have focused on education about the use in particular of the N-word, “since it is widely accepted by many students for a variety of reasons.”
“We ask for families’ support in helping students understand the pain that this word causes, and that it is not accepted at CHS, regardless of who is using it or their intent,” the letter said.
The letter urged all parents, guardians and community members to help students “understand the impact their words, images and actions can have on other individuals and on our communities.”