PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - A controversial photograph is sparking outrage in Warren County, New Jersey.
Some high school wrestlers are in the hot seat after a controversial photo surfaced this week.
In a picture obtained by the Express Times, seven Phillipsburg High School wrestlers are seen posing with a black dummy that's hanging by a noose.
The dummy is wearing a Paulsboro High School Wrestling T-shirt.
Two of the teenage boys have their hoods up in a point and another appears to be saluting.
"It's inappropriate, insensitive. It's just wrong on so many levels," said Paulsboro Public Schools Superintendent Walt Quint.
It has some people questioning if the photograph was racially inspired.
Quint said there are black students on Paulsboro's squad, but he doesn't believe it was a direct attack on race or any specific individual.
"A foolish act by a group of young men…My guess is they aren't even aware of the history and how insensitive and wrong this is," Quint said.
Students at Phillipsburg agree. They described the photo as commentary on Phillipsburg's recent victory over Paulsboro.
Phillipsburg defeated Paulsboro 38-21 on Feb. 1.
"I know a lot of them; it wasn't supposed to be a malicious thing," said Jeremy Edinger, a student at Phillipsburg HS.
"Nothing toward racism, it was more of a joke. If you know the boys, they didn't mean anything offensive by it," said Meghan Wicks, a student at Phillipsburg High School.
Quint said the two schools have had an ongoing rivalry.
"There is a rivalry, a good rivalry. Fierce yes. They are two premiere wrestling programs," Quint said.
But parents aren't seeing the fun.
"I don't think it's kids just being kids. They're clearly old enough to know better in this picture," said Elaine Valk, a parent.
"It's disgusting," said Robert Pierce, a parent.
Quint said he discussed the matter with Phillipsburg's superintendent and he expects the friendly rivalry to continue.
"It doesn't represent their school wrestling team. It certainly doesn't represent the rivalry we have," Quint said.
Phillipsburg School District released a statement to Tuesday afternoon:
"The incident reported is a student matter dealing with minors. An investigation was undertaken and upon conclusion of the investigation, actions were taken by the District consistent with its policies."
A man was killed and a woman and trooper were injured in a crash involving a New Jersey state police vehicle.Read More »
- Ex-clerk files federal lawsuit claiming Alpha Borough allowed sexual harassment
- State police: Trooper, 2 people in SUV injured in crash
- Lawyers: Can Menendez trial jurors be asked how they voted
- Penn State frat suspended over booze on Parents' Weekend
- NJ jobless rate falls to 4.2 percent despite shedding jobs
- Unsealed bridge case document shows juror sought dismissal
- Former congressional aide must register as sex offender
- Updated Pa. awarded $26.5 million to fight heroin, opioid crisis
- Updated Judge refuses competency hearing for police ambush killer
- Updated Health Beat: Food safety on the go
- Updated Wolf, treasurer push pension agencies to cut investment fees
- Updated Bethlehem police charge second man in brutal 2016 beating
- Updated Penn State Health St. Joseph hires new financial chief
- Penske Truck Leasing unveils mobile app for customers
- State police: 1 killed in crash with State Police vehicle
- Tickets on sale for 4th of July fireworks show at Coca-Cola Park