Western New Jersey

Paulsboro won't wrestle Phillipsburg

School cancels meets over 'hurtful' photo

High school cuts ties with another over photo

PAULSBORO, N.J. - A longtime western New Jersey high school wrestling rivalry won't resume in the next school year and it's all because of a photo.

Students from Paulsboro High School will not be wrestling those from Phillipsburg High School in the 2014-15 school year, announced Dr. Walter C. Quint, interim superintendent of  Paulsboro School District.

The decision is the latest fallout from a controversial photo of seven members of the Phillipsburg High wrestling team posing with a hanged dummy that was wearing a Paulsboro High School T-shirt.

The photo became public in February, shortly after Phillipsburg defeated Paulsboro 38-21 on Feb. 1. Because the hanged dummy is black and black athletes are on Paulsboro's wrestling squad, some considered the photo racist.

"The imagery in the photo was hurtful," said Quint. "Many people in the Paulsboro community were hurt. Some were very hurt."

The superintendent indicated it was Paulsboro High's decision not to wrestle Phillipsburg inthe next school year.

The seven students in the photo and the teen who snapped it were suspended from school for three days and banned from a state wrestling tournament.

Quint hopes an organization at his high school, Students for Respecting Equality, will succeed in reaching out to Phillipsburg High so all parties can learn that feelings need to be respected.

Paulsboro is a borough in Gloucester County,, N.J. It is just south of Philadelphia, directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia International Airport.

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