Paramus police and school officials are investigating a series of racial remarks shared by students on social media in light of the recent events following the death of George Floyd.
The screenshots of a group text messages were widely circulated on social media. At least two people sent racist and prejudiced messages against members of the gay community, women and black people.
“The Paramus Board of Education, the administration, staff, student body, community, and many others outside of Paramus are justifiably outraged by these messages,” Superintendent Michele Robinson said.
Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera said he was “sickened, disgusted and most disappointed” by the messages.
“[We] cannot simply ignore and hope that this goes away,” he said.
“Instead [we] must make it abundantly clear that this is entirely unacceptable, inexcusable and will not be tolerated here or anywhere and will hold those involved accountable for their actions.”
School officials will take “whatever measures are appropriate” upon the conclusion of the investigation but cannot disclose the details due to confidentiality and student privacy laws.
After referring to the messages as the “antithesis” of the school’s philosophy, Robinson made a final call-to-action for educators to work with students to come to an understanding about dignity and respect.
“The messages in these social media postings were clearly hurtful,” she said.
“As educators, we must use this incident as an opportunity to help our students grow and better understand their responsibility to respect the dignity and the rights of all individuals.”
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