HAWTHORNE, NJ - An employee of the Hawthorne school district was suspended after allegedly putting a "racially offensive" post on social media with respect to the death of George Floyd, according to Hawthorne Superintendent of Schools Richard Spirito. The name of the employee was not revealed.
"The Hawthorne Board of Education, the administration, staff, student body, and our community are justifiably angry and upset about this employee's racially charged message on social media," Spirito said in a letter.
Spirito said he viewed the online post and relieved the employee while an investigation took place. After which, he said, "the Administration and the Board will take whatever measures are appropriate."
"Please know that our response to this incident affirms the Hawthorne Board of Education's intolerance for any form of discrimination motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability," Spirito said. "A safe and civil environment in and outside of school is necessary for our students to learn and achieve high academic standards."
Describing the post as "the antithesis of our school's core values and beliefs" Spirito said that the district is "committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our students and employees. Part of our school district's mission is to produce citizens who respect cultural differences, make responsible decisions, and communicate effectively."
Spirito, who has overseen a dramatic and sudden change of normal school operations with respect to the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down in-person classes and activities, said, "This year continues to test us, but we will continue to demonstrate our strength, unity and support for one another. We believe that we are part of one America in which we all need to work together and cast aside intolerance and discrimination of any kind. We will continue to reinforce these ideals with our students and remind them that we are here for them. Despite our physical distance, we encourage our students, staff and families to reach out to the administration, our teachers and our support professionals with whom you may share your concerns or fears, knowing that you are not alone and that we are here to support you."
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