HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Dr. Lisa M. Antunes, superintendent of schools, and Karen A. Bingert, principal of Hillsborough High School, circulated a letter to members of the school community yesterday in response to complaints about "racist, homophobic and profane" online posts from several Hillsborough High School students.
An investigation is underway.
Outraged residents, some blaming the parents' of the offending students, posted their disappointment and outrage on social media.
Mayor Doug Tomson posted:
"As a community, I know we are stronger than one individual's disgusting words. I hope we will all take a moment and talk to our children about hate speech and continue to work together to make our world a better place," Tomson included a quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr. - "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
This is the text of the letter sent by Antunes and Bingert:
May 30, 2020
Dear HTPS Community,
"We write this message with a very heavy heart filled with disappointment and dismay. Late last night, it came to our attention that several Hillsborough High School students have been engaging in racist, homophobic, and profane online posts. Please be assured that this matter is being investigated fully by our administrative staff and anti-bullying specialist, and it will be addressed with the seriousness that such acts warrant.
"Hillsborough Township School District teaches and reinforces constantly that our school community welcomes one and all, that differences are to be celebrated and not maligned, and that respect is central to what it is to be a good citizen in an increasingly connected world. At the high school, such philosophies are also at the core of what it is to be a Raider. While people are entitled to their own opinions, we do not endorse nor will we tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that would leave any member of our school population feeling less than, disrespected, or unsafe.
"While we are overwhelmingly disheartened that some students would choose to make such horrific posts, we are incredibly proud of the many current and former students who have reached out to report this to us so that we can address this, can clarify without question that Hillsborough Township School District has only the highest expectations for the behavior of our students, and can restore faith that the actions of some are not the beliefs of many. To the contrary, the overwhelming response from people appalled by these posts is indicative that opinions like those posted are not welcome in our community.
"We continue to be a community of caring and support. Therefore, if any students need the assistance of a counselor, please remember that our counselors and many other trusted adults are available to support you."
Lisa M. Antunes, Ed.D, Superintendent of Schools
Karen A. Bingert, Principal