The superintendent of the Scotch Plains - Fanwood school district sent a letter to parents Monday to quell concerns about an alleged threat believed to have been made online by a student.
The high school student, according to multiple published reports, appeared in the social media post wearing blackface and standing before a Confederate flag, although an investigation never turned up evidence of an actual threat, Dr. Joan Mast said in her letter.
"On November 10th it came to the attention of the Scotch Plains Police Department that a controversial photo had been posted on social media," Mast wrote. " The alleged threat was assessed and found to be false."
The post was widely discussed on a Scotch Plains Facebook group.
Mast said the false rumors of the threat arose in the context of the social media post, which she only referred to in general terms, citing laws guaranteeing minor students' privacy. She did not make any mention of the specific content of the post or of a student wearing blackface.
But in her letter Monday Mast also noted the school district's ongoing commitment to combating hate speech.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first demonstration of hateful speech we have seen. Last year, when the high school was graffitied with racial slurs we were reminded of how the hateful voices of few can hurt so many," she wrote.
Today we reaffirm our commitment to listening to student voice through our student leadership groups. Together with the Board of Education we continue to work hand in hand, with the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Coalition, in partnership with both towns, to create a fair and safe community for all residents."
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