NJ high school assignment asks students to compare cops to people who lynched black Americans

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According to a recent Facebook post from Brothers Before Others, a New Jersey-based private Catholic school had assigned to students a project in which they were to compare instances of historical lynchings to that of black suspects killed during police interactions.

While sources suggest that the school has since pulled the assignment, there are still looming questions about how such an assignment was even dreamt up.

According to the post by Brothers Before Others, sources informed them that Hudson Catholic Regional High School had presented a history assignment to students where they were to allegedly do the following: 

“Students are to create a powerpoint. Find a famous case of a lynching (I suggest googling famous lynching case) and compare it to a famous case where an African American was slain by a police officer or some other authority figure.

Your slides should describe what lynching and police brutality are. They should provide background on the specific cases and describe what happened afterwards.

These should NOT be black text on white backgrounds! Be sure to use pictures and other things to liven up your slides. Your PowerPoint should be 15-20 slides.”

While the school has not publicly commented on the matter, sources say that the school quickly had the assignment pulled.

Yet, the matter is still nonetheless troubling, insofar that a school assignment would ask students to compare the horrible act of lynching to that of police uses of force that can be at times fatal.

Josh Oliveri, 2nd VP of Brothers Before Others, had the following to say about this alleged school assignment:

“An overwhelming number of instances involving police use of physical or mechanical force originate from a suspect resisting a lawful arrest. The notion that you, as someone being placed under arrest, have the right to resist is false and is fostered by a learned disrespect for the men and women and uniform.”

“A disrespect that, in some cases, is being taught to our most vulnerable and malleable citizens – our youth. As an educator, if you are teaching our children that law enforcement is the enemy, you are not only undermining social order, you are setting our children up for failure and potential incarceration.”

“More than that, imagine a scenario where a child of a police officer attends this school, which is highly likely. Teachers like this create a hostile environment for those children and literally force them to disavow their own parents or face potential bullying or worse.”

“Behavior like this shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere, let alone a private school being paid handsomely to educate our children. We hear a lot of preaching about ‘accountability’ as it pertains to law enforcement.

Well, we either all are accountable for our actions regardless of our profession or there will never be true progress. I’d be interested in knowing exactly what level of accountability this specific teacher faced.”

Brothers Before Others founder and president Michael J. Burke also chimed in on the matter, suggesting a perhaps more appropriate assignment that the Catholic school could entertain:

“First and foremost, as a former Hudson County resident, the only thing I remember about Hudson Catholic was beating up on their hockey team. Perhaps they should have their students do a PowerPoint presentation on the epidemic of pedophilia amongst clergy and compare & contrast Catholic priests to other religions.”

“Or maybe just stay in their lane and leave the law enforcement to the professionals and we’ll leave allegations of sexual deviancy to them. With all due respect.”

We at Law Enforcement Today have reached out to Hudson Catholic for comment on this alleged history class assignment, but the school has yet to respond on the matter.

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This alleged assignment is reminiscent of a lecture recently held at another New Jersey high school that we at Law Enforcement Today reported on back in May. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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BERGEN COUNTY, NJ – A presentation that was reportedly conducted by an attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts at Ramapo High School earlier in May has stoked the anger of some parents of students, as this presentation was said to have painted police officers in a negative light by use of “blatantly false and misleading information.”

On May 14th, Torey Cummings of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts shared a presentation in which students could voluntarily attend the lecture and slideshow about various types of Civil Rights cases handled by the DOJ.

Reportedly, one of the slides used during this presentation was titled “Police Violence and People of Color” which some parents allege shared either disingenuous or outright false information.

However, it is unclear what exactly these alleged falsehoods during the presentation were.

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who lives in Franklin lakes where Ramapo High School is located, proclaimed another of the slides in this presentation showcased “a menacing cop with a big gun,” while another slide showed two police officers searching black suspects.

Kerik believes that the purpose of this presentation was meant to turn some students against police officers:

“Why would you show that to high school kids? The only reason you do that is to turn them against the police.

“It’s unbelievable, really… We’ve got great police officers here and the surrounding communities. We don’t have racial or community issues. Now these children are being indoctrinated with material that fosters hatred and creates a racial divide.”

Cummings had at one time served with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Some local police officers anonymously shared their disdain with the presentation as it transpired during National Police Week.

Interim Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District Superintendent Anthony Riscica stated, with respect to the concerns of parents over the presentation, that the school district “has had a long history of partnerships with our constituent local law enforcement agencies, as well as our county and state law enforcement officials.”

Riscica further noted that the school district holds their local law enforcement “in high regard and acknowledge the risks they assume in securing the safety and security of our students, staff members and our communities.”

However, the interim superintendent did point out that the school district is also inviting of speakers hosting varying viewpoints, so long as it pertains to matters of “public importance” and are “appropriate” for students:

“During the course of any school year many speakers are invited to talk with our students about issues of public importance. We are obliged to permit various viewpoints on these issues, provided the content presented is appropriate for our students.”

Riscica stated that attendance of this presentation was “on a voluntary basis,” and that the purpose of the lecture was to “learn about the operations of the Civil Rights Division and the types of cases falling within their federal jurisdiction.”

Based upon the context of the presentation, Riscica stated that it would reasonably include portions pertaining to law enforcement officers that have been involved in Civil Rights cases:

“This is certainly a topic of significant interest to our students. Since the Department of Justice is involved with alleged discriminatory conduct on the part of state actors, its presentation also included cases involving law enforcement officials.”

While some parents may have been upset over the content from this particular lecture, Riscica concluded that the district will continue to allow guest speakers to cover certain topics, so long as the topic is appropriate for students:

“Please know that we will continue to ensure that presentations of various viewpoints on matters of public concern will be accurate and content appropriate for our students.”

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