Meghan D. Hodgin, NJ, April 26, 2013
More than 100 community members came to the Franklin Township Board of Education Thursday, many with one goal in mind: To find out what the school district was doing about a so-called “White Girls Club” and accusations of racism around it.
Last week, the Home News Tribune printed an article indicating a group of girls at Franklin High School — dubbed the “White Girls Club” — were posting “racially insensitive comments and photos” on social media sites, and were possibly connected to a male student who was already suspended for allegedly posting racist pictures online.
A high school student sent the Home News Tribune a series of screen shots of Tweets by members of the club each posing with three fingers creating a “W” — apparently to symbolize “white,” with the hashtag “#wgc,” MyCentralJersey.com, the online platform of the Home News Tribune and Courier News, reported.
A girl also allegedly retweeted a tweet sent out by a boy that said “the hallways in the high school,” and featured a photo of a group of monkeys or chimpanzees. He also posted a photo on Twitter of the Confederate flag hanging on a wall near bleachers of a gym with the Twitter message “south will rise again,” the report said.
While board president Julia M. Presley previously told NJ.com that it has not yet been proven that the girls posted anything racist or were even involved with the boy already suspended, she would not reveal any details surrounding the investigation.
And Thursday night’s meeting didn’t shed any new light on the investigation, either. But it did make one thing clear: parents are mad.
Bruce Morgan, president of the New Brunswick branch of the NAACP, said he thought the board was “slow to react” to the allegations made against the girls.”This hit the paper last Friday, but apparently this happened some time in the fall. We think it’s a shame that the seriousness of the situation wasn’t recognized then. It’s affecting the community at large, not just the school community.”
And many who spoke Thursday demanded more action from the board.
“What is the plan to deescalate the situation?” asked Linda Powell, a Franklin resident. “This is really pulling Franklin apart in some really horrible ways. I hope members of the board take this to heart.”
One Franklin High School student spoke about the climate at the high school, saying that some black people have stopped talking to white people altogether because they assume the white students are part of the White Girls Club. The board asked the girl not to announce her name.”This is probably one of the most hurtful things I have ever experienced in my life,” she said. “I have been friends with these girls, and it makes me feel as if I’ve done something personally wrong as a black woman. I also see that these girls are not remorseful.”
The student also said she feared the situation could get worse.”The students at Franklin High School are angry. I hear the threats that these girls are getting, and the more people continue to not talk about it and sweep things under the rug, (the worse it’s getting),” she said.
[Editor’s Note: According to this page, Franklin High School is 47 percent black, 25 percent white, 17 percent Hispanic, and 11 percent Asian.]