Racially-charged social media posts spark violence at Washington Township High School

Christie Ileto Image
Friday, October 20, 2017
Tensions rise at Washington Township High School
Tensions rise at Washington Township High School: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., October 17, 2017

SEWELL, N.J. (WPVI) -- A number of parents took their students out of Washington Township High School in Sewell, New Jersey on Thursday, fearing tensions over something posted online would blow up again.

A recent hallway scuffle at the school was an outgrowth of racial tension that school officials and parents say was triggered by a barrage of racist postings on social media by a member of the football team.

Several parents said the racial problems have simmered here for a long time and the racism on the internet simply triggered the boil-over.

A number of them came to the 2400-student school to take their youngsters home early Thursday, fearing that more violence might be coming.

Along with an increased police presence and a silent protest staged by students, the NAACP is working with the district to provide cultural training for staff and students.

The district superintendent said he is trying to contain the problems and said he has suspended a number of students for fighting and the anti-black social media postings.

Racially-charged social media posts spark violence at Washington Township High School: Vernon Odom reports on Action News at 4:30 p.m., October 19, 2017

An emergency meeting about the issue was held Thursday night.

"We just felt we would walk in school and confront them - why does they need to be said?" said junior David McCoy

"Going to the school calling people [ racial slur], and talking about the skin color, and nothing has been done about it," said senior Mirah Collins.

"What are they going to do with the situation, how are they going to protect the students from this happening?" said parent Jenise Fraser.

This isn't the only racially-charged situation in a local school. In Coatesville, Pa., a protest is planned for Friday morning in response to a photo posted on social media, which now at the center of a police investigation.

The picture includes four students from Coatesville High School posing behind carved pumpkins, one of which reveals a swastika while another reads "KKK." Another photo recently surfaced showing an ethnic doll hanging from the ceiling of a Coatesville High School locker room.


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