Officials are investigating what is likely a racially motivated incident in Clark, ...
By Elizabeth Aguirre
Officials say they will investigate a report of a racial incident in which a black puppet was found by a girls basketball team in a room provided to them hanging by its neck.
MyCentralJersey.com reports members of the Plainfield (N.J.) High School girls basketball team arrived to play a game against Arthur L. Johnson High in Clark, N.J. to find the figure dangling from a string, according to a Facebook posting.
According to the report, “Its eyes seemed to be bulging from its head and its mouth was gaping. The string that the dummy was hanging from was also wrapped around its arm”.
Keshon Bennett, the first-year head coach of the Plainfield team confirmed the incident. His team stayed and finished the game, losing to Clark 64-20. The team quickly left the school once the game was over.
Edward Grande, the superintendent of Clark public schools claims the school board will investigate the incident and find out what happened.
“The Clark Board Education and the Clark Community does not condone any demonstrations of intolerance,” said Grande. “We have been made aware that a picture taken by the coach or a member of the Plainfield girls’ basketball team has been posted on social media of a puppet that was reportedly posed in a classroom located in the Clark Public Schools.”
Gloria Montealegre, Plainfield’s community liaison states that more information is needed and that the matter was “referred to the proper authorities,” Mycentraljersey.com said.
Clark’s African-American population is 8 percent compared to Plainfield, whose Black population is 50 percent. This is reportedly not the first time Plainfield athletes encountered racism while playing away games.
A separate incident reportedly occurred at a football game in Summit, NJ, when North Plainfield High School football players found bananas in a locker in what appeared to be a racially motivated prank, however Summit officials claimed the banana was simply a good luck tradition started by its football players.
When reached out to for a comment, Arthur L. Johnson’s first-year head coach Joe Marino said he was not aware of the incident at Clark.