Homophobic comments posted in a Zoom chat among Dumont High School teachers has parents, students, graduates and other educators fuming -- and district officials investigating.
Mayor Andrew LaBruno said he's contacted Schools Supt. Emanuele Triggiano, "who has assured me that this incident is being taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated."
Meanwhile, signatures mounted on a change.org petition calling for the teachers' ouster.
A screenshot captured from the chat contains references to a "gay gym teacher," along with the comment: "Is that her adopted kid? Who is gonna be all f----d up growing up watching 2 chicks kissing and calling them both mom..."
LaBruno called the chat "disturbing and extremely appalling."
"These homophobic comments do not reflect our community's values, nor do they represent our beliefs in the borough of Dumont," the mayor said. "We are an inclusive and welcoming community.
"While there is still much work to be done fighting against inequalities and standing up for human rights, our educators mold our children's minds," LaBruno said, " and these comments have no place in our education system. Dumont is one big family, and together we must ensure that all of our neighbors know that hate has no home here."
An online petition launched by former DHS graduate Matthew DeMarco says the comments are "unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the school district or its employees, and should result in their forced resignations immediately."
"Homophobia or bigotry of any kind is unacceptable and should not be tolerated within the education system," DeMarco wrote. "Taking the appropriate actions will ensure a safer and more inclusive environment for students and teachers."
Support for the cause continued to grow Friday.
"My classroom has been a garden to grow for All my students no matter who they are," a fellow educator, Christopher Boettger of Washington Township, wrote on the petition. "Each and every one has god given gifts that they may share with whom they love.
"For any educator to make these homophobic comments means they do not deserve to be in the classroom for ALL their students and must be removed. I am so honored to see all my past students and their integrity it makes me proud. Change IS the future."
District officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday.
ALSO SEE: A Hackensack School Board member who made national headlines by opposing a LGBTC curriculum has resigned after an embarrassing incident during a Zoom meeting.
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