DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — DeWitt Police are investigating what appears to be racist remarks made on a Zoom seminar for students of the Jamesville-DeWitt School District.
In a letter to the community, the district superintendent confirmed the incident happened on a virtually-hosted curriculum night for incoming ninth-graders and their parents.
Superintendent Peter Smith wrote: “We apologize to those of you who were subjected to this racist, hateful and vile language during a school-run event… We are appalled that our staff would be so terribly victimized and that our community was subjected to such horrific language and actions.”
The superintendent did not respond to NewsChannel 9’a request for comment or to detail the incident. The superintendent, Peter Smith, did respond to a well-known member of his community who is known for his African American activism.
Bishop H. Bernard Alex is a Baptist pastor in Downtown Syracuse but lives in DeWitt. His children have attended J-D schools, as does his grandchild currently.
Within an hour of the Zoom meeting being shut down, Bishop Alex got a text message from the African American assistant principal who was targeted with racist remarks.
In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Bishop Alex read aloud some of the message: “A couple of knuckleheads bombed the meeting during my portion. I was repeatedly called, repeatedly called the n-word.”
According to the text message to Alex, the same word was used in text as the person’s Zoom screen name.
Bishop Alex said: “She sent me a text message that just shook me, and in all realness, I cried about it. I got a little misty.”
DeWitt Police wouldn’t answer questions or offer details but confirmed an investigation.
The superintendent’s letter finishes: “We will be working with our technology department and the DeWitt Police Department to identify the individual or individuals who made the unacceptable comments, and if they are a J-D student(s), their actions will be subject to the district’s code of conduct. If you have any information that you think would help us identify the individual(s), please feel free to reach out to me, J-D Middle School Principal Andy Eldridge, or J-D High School Principal Paul Gasparini.”.