A top official with the premiere burn hospital in New Jersey who admitted that she posted a racially-charged comment about police in schools was placed on administrative leave Thursday pending an investigation, RWJBarnabas officials said.
Michellene Davis -- the vice-president and chief of corporate affairs with RWJBarnabas Health -- on Wednesday commented the following under a news article titled "Fair Lawn hires armed officers for all schools," read: "Who is going to train them not to shoot black children first?!?"
She claimed later that day that her account had been hacked but admitted that she actually posted the comment on Thursday morning.
"I want to publicly apologize for an extremely insensitive and offensive comment posted on Facebook," wrote Davis, who previously worked for several years in state government, including as executive director and CEO of the New Jersey Lottery. "My concern for the safety of the schoolchildren and gun violence led me to react to a headline without thinking.
"Having a late sister and other family in law enforcement I deeply respect the law enforcement community and appreciate their services and admire their sacrifice. To all law enforcement families, the community, and to my employer RWJBH I offer a sincere apology."
Fair Lawn PBA President Luis Vazquez called Davis' apology a "step in the right direction."
"We are held to the highest standards and pride ourselves in our professionalism and our love for our community, especially our schools and children," he wrote.
Created in 2015, RWJBarnabas Health is a network of independent healthcare providers -- academic centers, acute care facilities, and research hospitals -- based at its medical center in West Orange. Its goals include collaborating on educational and research programs.
"Official social media outlets are the only statements that represent the views and policies of the organization," the RWJBarnabas administration wrote in a post after word of Davis's comment spread.
Davis has been with Barnabas nearly nine years.
Her role at RWJBarnabas Health is to help "direct the strategic policy decisions of the system and strengthens the system’s position with state and federal elected officials and agencies," the corporation's website says. "Spearheaded by Ms. Davis, the system is prioritizing its mission to eliminate disparities, enhance equity and create social and physical environments that promote good health for our communities."
Davis previously served former chief policy counsel to then-Gov. Jon Corzine in 2008-2009 after being acting state treasurer for a year before.
She was also the executive director of the New Jersey Lottery for two years, beginning in 2005.
Davis got her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Seton Hall University and her law degree from its School of Law.
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