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Photo shows New Jersey students with hanging black wrestling dummy

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February 19, 2014 3:17:17 PM PST
The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association is investigating a photograph that appears to show members of a high school wrestling team hanging in effigy a black wrestler from a rival school.

The picture, which was posted online, includes several teenagers posing around a dark-colored wrestling dummy dangling from a rope tied around its neck. The dummy is seen wearing a Paulsboro Wrestling shirt.

And so Paulsboro Interim Superintendent Walter Quint says he has decided to use this as a teachable moment.

Dr. Quint says, "This is an example where we can show our students what a big mistake you can make by posting things online that you haven't thought about."

Meantime, the photos racial overtones - whether intended or not - has state authorities looking into the matter.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association sent Action News a statement reading in part:

"We have asked Phillipsburg administrators to provide a report of the incident to NJSIAA by no later than noon on Thursday. The report will help NJSIAA determine what further actions, if any, will be taken."

The NJSIAA says it has also reported the incident to the state attorney general's office and the division of civil rights.

We reached out to Phillipsburg School Superintendent George Chando, who also sent Action News a statement reading:

"The incident reported is a student matter dealing with minors. An investigation was undertaken, and upon conclusion of the investigation actions were taken by the District consistent with its policies."

The statement does not say what those actions were.

Phillipsburg and Paulsboro have developed an intense wrestling rivalry over the last 20 years, and just a couple days ago Phillipsburg just won the New Jersey State Wrestling Team Championship. However, this unfortunate photo has overshadowed that accomplishment.


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