Students' Offensive Social Media Posts Anger Schools Superintendent, Prompt Principal To Email All Parents

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — What were they thinking?

Two students at a high school in New Jersey were punished after racist posts surfaced on social media, CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported Monday.

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Two social media posts of white high school students in blackface, along with racially offensive language, has created a wave of controversy and concern at Piscataway High School.

“I think it’s a smack in the face to all black people,” senior Franklin Campbell said.

“It’s disgraceful. I think it indicates a lack of sensitivity,” schools superintendent Teresa Rafferty said.

An excerpt from a letter sent to Piscataway High School parents following the blackface controversy. (Photo: CBS2)

Rafferty said the posts emerged last Thursday when a student at the school reported them to the principal.  In one, a white male student is seen in black face with the caption, “Can a fellow black man tell me how to apply for a (n-word) pass.”

In another, a white female is also seen in blackface. School officials said the post was actually created three years ago, but never reported to them. They believe it may have been posted again last week.

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The superintendent said the students in question have been identified. And when Principal Jason Lester asked them why they did it, “The principal said that the students thought that this was a joke only intended for a few friends. They did not quite understand the magnitude of their actions,” Rafferty said.

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She said the two students have been disciplined, but did not say how. Lester sent out an email to students and parents, assuring them that “Piscataway prides itself on being an inclusive and respectful community.”

“At this time, our investigation indicates that this behavior is limited to a small circle of students,” Lester added.

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Students were not happy with the entire episode.

“I thought it was dumb. I don’t know why they did it,” junior Eli Wolfskeff said.

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Some students CBS2’s Rapoport talked to said they know the posters involved, and believe though what they did was wrong, despite its obvious offensive nature, posting online was a big mistake.

“They definitely shouldn’t have been on social media, but knowing the two people they definitely that did not mean it in any demeaning way,” senior Brian Lopez said.

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School officials said they will be offering additional discussions on racial sensitivity at the school to make sure something like this does not happen again.