Local High School Wrestling Photo Sparks Controversy
A group of New Jersey high school wrestlers took a photo of themselves posing with a black, hanged dummy. It's an image that has circulated the web sparking allegations of racism and leaving some to wonder if the teens should be charged with a 'hate crime'.
The photo appears to show members of the Phillipsburg HS wrestlers hanging a black wrestler from rival Paulsboro High School in effigy. The act has prompted an investigation by The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The dark-colored dummy is posed dangling from a rope tied around its neck and wearing a Paulsboro Wrestling shirt.
Paulsboro Interim Superintendent Dr. Walter Quint commented on the incident to 6abc.com saying, "This is an example where we can show our students what a big mistake you can make by posting things online that you haven't thought about."
Due to the photo's racial overtones and its reference to lynching, state authorities have launched a probe into the matter.
So what consequences are the offending students facing in light of this infraction?
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association released a statement reading in part:
"We have asked Phillipsburg administrators to provide a report of the incident to NJSIAA by no later than noon on Thursday. The report will help NJSIAA determine what further actions, if any, will be taken."
Phillipsburg School Superintendent George Chando told Action News:
"The incident reported is a student matter dealing with minors. An investigation was undertaken, and upon conclusion of the investigation actions were taken by the District consistent with its policies."
The statement does not say what those actions were.
The rivalry between Phillipsburg and Paulsboro runs deep. The schools have developed an intense wrestling rivalry over the last 20 years.