HARRISON TWP. — A display entitled “Police Brutality” was posted on a wall at Clearview Regional High School recently, complete with a silhouette with raised hands and posters declaring “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
The display was posted by Humanities Class.
Policemen’s Benevolent Society Local 122 members became vocal about it after someone posted a photo of the wall on Faceboook Wednesday morning. A photo of the wall display has generated a long list of responses from police officers and others.
Clearview Regional Superintendent John Horchak III was not available to take a phone call at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday because he was at the high school, reportedly investigating the incident.
By that time, the display had been taken down from the wall.
One Facebook poster said she saw the display Monday night.
Some of the comments on Facebook:
“Ranks right up there with the teacher having her kids writing get well cards to Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
“Unacceptable that the admin would allow this.”
“Someone needs to be fired.”
"Anyone else find it ironic," one parent wrote, "that this is occurring at the school who had 3 bomb threats in two weeks where all of the responding officers ran in toward danger while the kids played in the parking lot?"
PBA Local 122 President Jason Neely sent a letter “on behalf of the nearly 500 active law enforcement officers” represented by the local to Horchak asking that the display be removed.
The display, while protected by freedom of speech, Neely wrote, was misleading.
“The last thing I expected to see is one of our local high schools allowing their students to publicly bash law enforcement,” Neely wrote.
Neely noted those recent bomb scares. “Is this the way you teach your students to show appreciation to those who help them?” he wrote.
Robert Zimmerman, president of the Gloucester County Chiefs of Police Association and police chief of Pitman, is a Mantua Township resident whose daughter attends Clearview.
He spoke to Horchak by phone Wednesday afternoon.
“This was apparently done by students after school hours (last night) without approval of the district. As soon as the Principal found out about this (this morning), it was immediately taken down. The school district's administration is currently conducting an investigation and is pro-actively addressing this matter. He assured me, that those responsible, will be addressed in accordance to school school district protocol,” Zimmerman said.
Horchak confirmed that this was a project by students from a Humanities class that was not approved. It was hung Tuesday night and the principal had it taken down Wednesday morning first thing, he said.
“The teacher knew it was a project, maybe one of many current events to be discussed,” Horchak said, adding that he didn’t yet have all the facts.
“We have tremendous respect for our police. We have a school resource officer walking our halls and are especially grateful since they’ve helped us in the last couple of weeks” with the bomb threats, he said.
His investigation will continue and messages will be posted on the school website and sent through automated message to parents, said Horchak.