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School employee suspended for alleged racist rant

Board of Education reacts to video showing Muslim slur

Jersey City is know for its racial tolerance and support of immigrant rights.

A Jersey City Board of Education employee caught on video allegedly verbally abusing a Muslim woman has been suspended from her job pending an investigation, said Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas.

Even as members of the Muslim community mourn the death of 50 people in a New Zealand terrorist attack, Jersey City is investigating the alleged racial rant by an employee of the school district.

The alleged verbal abuse by Tanya Parker, 44, a maintenance worker for the school district, was caught on video depicting a dispute with a Muslim woman over a parking spot in February.

The video showed Parker screaming a racist profanity in telling the woman to go back to her country

In a report published by Hudson County View, Parker said she briefly parked in front of a driveway while was picking up her child from school when the other woman started to tape her and her daughter and kept pushing the phone into her face.

Parker admitted in the account that she had lost her temper and had used inappropriate words. But she also noted that her husband was Muslim.

The events captured in the cell phone video occurred in February, but made the rounds of the internet before being leaked to local media.

Board President Sudhan Thomas confirmed the matter is under investigation.

“There is absolutely no place for hate of any kind and we will not tolerate words or actions insinuating terrorism in the JCBOE/JCPS ecosystem,” Thomas said in a statement.

Board will take action

“The Board will take necessary actions consistent with policy and refer to law enforcement accordingly. This morning we woke up to the tragic news of 49 Muslim worshipers shot and killed by a terrorist in New Zealand. The weight of such tragic events weighs heavily on our collective consciousness.”

The report on the incident came three after the shooting in New Zealand for which Brenton Tarrant, 28, of Australia has been charged with murder. He allegedly killed 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Zero tolerance

Thomas said the district has zero-tolerance for racism and the fact that the report on this incident came during a time of an international tragedy made the situation even worse.

Under board policy, an employee is entitled to a hearing and a review before any additional action is taken.

“We will be reviewing the matter and will take action if it is needed,” Thomas said. “But meanwhile, the employee has been suspended until the review.”

Jersey City has a significant Muslim population, and the board has been active in trying to provide policies that are inclusive, Thomas said. Among these are changes to the food services in the schools as well as realigning the school calendar to provide for Muslim holidays.

Thomas said incidents like this one run counter to the efforts to provide an inclusive school district. He noted Jersey City is considered the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation.

For updates on this and other stories check hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Al Sullivan can be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com


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