A teacher who is employed at Dumont High School in Bergen County, New Jersey was sharing their screen while conducting a science class (via Zoom on Wednesday November 25th. At that time, students noticed that a group chat window was open.
The New Jersey Herald reports that one of the children in the class took a screenshot of the conversation within the group chat. Homophobic remarks like “why is that kid with the gay gym teacher” & “is that her adopted kid? Who is gonna be all fucked up watching two chicks kissing and calling them both mom” were contained in the chat that was seen (the actual screenshots are listed below).
dumont high school science teachers…. really???? we knew they were racist but homophobic too? i always liked the english teachers more. pic.twitter.com/CXxiIzlY6z
— ANDY MIQ (@adrwmiq) November 25, 2020
Reaction was swift from community leadership. Immediately, Dumont Mayor Andrew LaBruno posted the following on Facebook: “I have been made aware of some disturbing and extremely appalling comments between Dumont High School Teachers captured in a group chat shared during a zoom class. These homophobic comments do not reflect our community’s values, nor do they represent our beliefs in the Borough of Dumont. We are an inclusive and welcoming community. We were the first Mayor & Council to raise the Pride flag in support of our neighbors in the #LGBTQ community. While there is still much work to be done fighting against inequalities and standing up for human rights, our educators mold our children’s minds, and these comments have no place in our education system. I’ve contacted the Dumont Public Schools Superintendent, who has assured me that this incident is being taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated. Dumont is one big family, and together we must ensure that all of our neighbors know that hate has no home here.”
A Change.org petition has been created by DHS graduated Matthew DeMarco and garnered close to 25,000 signatures, saying in part “unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the school district or its employees, and should result in their forced resignations immediately.” “Homophobia or bigotry of any kind is unacceptable and should not be tolerated within the education system,” DeMarco went on to say “Taking the appropriate actions will ensure a safer and more inclusive environment for students and teachers.”
District officials did not return calls for comment