Education

School Administration Addresses Two Bias Incidents at Columbia High School on Wednesday

a7ba2a9cdc89b2120907_Columbia_High_School.jpg
a7ba2a9cdc89b2120907_Columbia_High_School.jpg

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Racist and derogatory language was used in a classroom and sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic graffiti was found in a bathroom at Columbia High School (CHS) on Wednesday, according to an email sent to CHS families at about 5:45 p.m.

The email, which was signed by South Orange Maplewood School District Superintendent John Ramos, and CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron, is as follows:

Dear Columbia High School families:

Sign Up for E-News

We write to inform you of two incidents that occurred at Columbia High School today.  

In a classroom, students were allegedly using racist and derogatory language, specifically calling each other “n****s,” “b***s” and “hoes.”  In addressing the students’ use of these words, the teacher reportedly used the same words.  If true, this was clearly unacceptable and will be addressed according.  One of our administrators will be joining the class tomorrow to follow up on the incident.

In a separate incident, graffiti was discovered in a student bathroom that included the words “KKK for Nazis,” other sexist and racist words, and an image of a swastika.

Administrators are investigating both incidents so that we can ascertain the facts and determine what disciplinary action may be appropriate, based on the code of conduct and our personnel procedures and union contract guides.  The graffiti incident was also reported to Maplewood police for their own investigation.



We know that these and other recent incidents do not reflect the values of the SOMSD student body or staff as a whole, or the values of the South Orange and Maplewood communities. They do, however,  highlight the work we still have to do as a community to make sure our young people know that there is no place for derogatory, racist or anti-Semitic language or images in our classrooms and other school facilities, or in our community, and that they will not be tolerated. 

Recent meetings between CHS leaders, staff and Black Student Union members have focused on how to build student and teacher competencies around the use of the “N” word in particular, since it is widely accepted by many students for a variety of reasons.  We ask for families’ support in helping students understand the pain that this word causes, and that it is not accepted at CHS, regardless of who is using it or their intent.

We are also reminding staff in all of our schools to make sure all of our communications with students, families and each other reflect our commitment to inclusivity and the cultural competency training that we have received. 

Hate speech and images do not happen in a vacuum, and are not confined to our school buildings.  This is a family issue, a community issue, and a national issue, in addition to most certainly being a school issue.  Adults must take responsibility.  We once again ask for the partnership of all parents, guardians and community members in helping students understand the impact their words, images and actions can have on other individuals and on our communities. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

South Orange Police Blotter - iPhone Reported Stolen from Basketball Courts

June 21, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 21

Burglary - The owner of a business on Vose Avenue reported that sometime between 12:45 p.m., Sunday, June 17,  and 10 a.m., Monday, June 18, actor(s) unknown forcibly gained access to the business through the front door, rummaged through cabinets and desks and removed some personal items (including Bose brand speakers ...

South Orange Police Blotter: Robbery Reported on South Orange Avenue

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 16

Robbery - An Alpha, NJ resident reported that he was robbed on Sunday, June 3, at approximately 12:30 a.m. while he was walking on South Orange Avenue near Scotland Road. The victim stated that he was approached by three unknown actors who punched him and knocked him to the ground. The actors then stole his cell phone and wallet ...

Maplewood's Hilton Neighborhood Association Celebrates 23rd Anniversary

June 24, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Hilton Neighborhood Association celebrated its 23rd Anniversary on Wednesday evening, June 20.

The event took place at the Springfield Avenue Gazebo with entertainment by the Swing Town Band. 

All photos courtesy of Carl Patterson of CP Photo Op Photography.

South Orange's Allyson Murphy Mobilizes Mothers in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 26, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_af1b89eae735bf536426_par440_promo

Fri, June 29, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_ab87d453f7ef0862e666_2018montage2804x956-3

Tue, July 3, 4:30 PM

Maplewood Memorial Park, Maplewood

First Time Ever July 3rd Circus Performances and ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Other

Men’s Shul Softball League Unites in Livingston to Support Parkland Community

June 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Men’s Shul Softball League, consisting of teams from temples throughout Livingston, West Orange, Short Hills and other neighboring communities in Essex and Morris counties, gathered in Livingston prior to regular play on Sunday morning in support of Make Our Schools Safe, an organization started by the parents of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School ...

Lecia Bianca Jewels Creates a Bridge to Make Bloomfield Center the Next Style Destination

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Center renaissance continues as Lecia Bianca Jewels becomes a style destination on main thoroughfare in this Essex County Community. Lecia Clay, owner of the boutique, describes her jewelry as 'bridge jewelry,' - pieces that are in a space between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, while having value. 

'Lecia Bianca' is the ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 24, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

Newark Cop Convicted of Reckless Manslaughter for 2016 Fatal Shooting of Piscataway Man

UNION COUNTY, NJ – A Newark police officer was convicted of reckless manslaughter in the death of a man outside Paddy’s Place in Union in May 2016, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Wednesday.

The officer, Joseph Macchia, 37, was convicted of fatally shooting 37-year-old Michael Gaffney of Piscataway following an argument and fight at Paddy’s ...

South Orange Summer 2018 Student Leadership Institute

June 23, 2018

Program Overview and Application Form: (Deadline to Apply: Wednesday, June 27)

The Township of South Orange Village is pleased to offer students the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills in the areas of local government and civic engagement where they will interact with a variety of elected officials, municipal departments, and community leaders.

The Student Leadership ...

Welcome To South Orange, Drive 25!

With very few exceptions, the speed limit throughout the Village is 25 miles per hour.

Along with barbeques, trips down the shore, and local ice cream runs, July and August mark the summer driving season. If you are driving in, or through South Orange, that means driving at 25 miles per hour. “Welcome to South Orange, now drive 25” says Lt. Michael Corrigan, the head of the SOPD ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - June 22 to June 28

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:          

Chobani Yogurt 32oz $6.99
Friendly’s Ice Cream 48floz $3.99
Turkey Hero $5.99 ea (Deli)
Brad’s Blues Tortilla Chips  $2.99
Housemade Premade Lemonade 16oz $4.99 (Bakery)
Red Wax Gouda $5.99lb ...