Students Wear Confederate Flag Shirts, Post Racial Slurs During ‘Spirit Week’
SEWELL — A display of Confederate colors has stirred controversy at a South Jersey school.
In a letter on the Gloucester County Institute of Technology's website, principal James Dundee said comments containing "racial and defaming slurs" had been posted on social media last week during the school's Spirit Week activities.
NJ.com reported that during a meeting with the Gloucester County NAACP, students explained that during the first day's "America Day" theme, members of the school's African-American Culture Club wore black in silent protest of students who wore shirts with Confederate flags on them.
Chapter president Loretta Winters told Fox 29 that one of the social media comments read, "Go back to Africa. You don't like it then bleach your skin white." She added that she was pleased with the way the school handled the situation.
Dundee wrote that GCIT administration investigated the posts and there were no disruptions to class.
"The School District and the School Administration want to be very clear that there is no tolerance for prejudicial comments, remarks, racism or hatred in our school. All students found to be involved in the incident and in the events leading up to the incident, have been disciplined per the student code of conduct and several Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying reports have been filed with the district’s HIB Coordinator," Dundee wrote.
The "week" ran during school days starting last Wednesday through Tuesday, according to a tweet by the student council. GCIT is off on Thursday and Friday of this week for the NJEA teacher's convention. Two more spirit days are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week.
According to the National Center of Education Statistics, the school, which serves all of Gloucester County, had an enrollment of 1,317 students as of the 2014-15 school year, the last year for which statistics are available. The vast majority of students at the school are white, with only 36 African-American enrollees.