In earshot of hearsay regarding a school shooting, Mr. Walter Hudson, a New Jersey activist becomes fearful, but School District official suggest hyperbole.
The tone taken today by Mr. Walter Hudson, a New Jersey activist who recently lobbied to get the Federal Government to step into Bridgeton and investigate the controversial police killing of Mr. Jerame Reid, was one I’m not used to hearing from him. Sure, the outspoken community leader, at times, is riled up and passionate undoubtedly drives his activism. But this afternoon, when we spoke on the phone following a press conference where he stood with families who claim they’re terrified that a young white male student who allegedly hurled racial and homophobic slurs at their black children would take up arms and commit a possible school shooting, Mr. Hudson was clearly livid, not his usual temperament, and sometimes, to emphasize his anger, uttering profanity.
What’s got the New Jersey man so angry is the apparent indifference to this impending tragedy by Dr. Zenaida Cobian, the Superintendent of Penns Grove – Carneys Point School District.
“The description that has been provided to the media and general public of the incident that took place at the Penns Grove Middle School approximately two weeks ago has been grossly exaggerated. At no time was there a weapon or gun in the school. At no time was shelter in place or lock ordered for the building,” the statement, sent by email, read in part.
A 1999 graduate of the middle school in question, Mr. Hudson found the language of Dr. Cobian’s statement dismissive, written in a way to belittle and discredit the claims made by him and others.
“We never said there was a gun in the school! We always said they were threatened to be shot in the school!,” Mr. Hudson shouted.
The argument against the Superintendent and, more broadly, the District, is that they’re ignoring what Mr. Hudson says are “red flags.”
The student who allegedly made the threats has been in the media before, when he, at age 10, was pictured on Facebook holding a .22 caliber rifle. The child’s father is, according to his Facebook profile, a NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. And the son, now in 7th grade, has been suspended, according to Mr. Hudson, for his use of inappropriate language towards his peers. Though Dr. Cobian, citing Federal and State laws, wouldn’t confirm the suspension, she did imply that discipline was handed out and that there “haven’t been any further incidents or disruptions at the Middle School.”
Mr. Hudson, dissatisfied with the action taken thus far by the Superintendent he once supported for the position, called her a “scared leader” and characterized the gun-loving father and son duo as “white supremacist that means us no good.”
“If they could shoot us in the back and get away with it, they would,” Mr. Hudson, a former member of the school board who today spoke exclusively to Techbook Online, asserted.
One of the boys, Mr. Amir Brown, who claimed to be a victim of his schoolmate’s intimidation spoke at the press conference earlier in the day and said he feels “threatened.”
The aforementioned boy and three others, after allegedly being taunted by the schoolmate with racial slurs, retaliated with violence; and the father of the battered young man confirms as much with a Facebook post that said:
“So Walter Hudson is now trying to get J*** removed from school saying he’s a racist and will shoot up the school. This just happened to be after 4 kids that jumped J*** got served with their charges.”
Mr. Hudson confirms that most of the school shooting story is the result of hearsay but contends that the suspension of J*** is enough to validate the allegations and rumors. When asked why the parents of the students who claimed to feel threatened didn’t call the police, Mr. Hudson was unable to provide reasoning other than to say that the School District is responsible for the students until they get home and that the second and most egregious threat happened on school grounds, which makes the jurisdiction that of the School District.
On March 14th, there’s a School Board meeting that Mr. Hudson and concerned parents will attend to address the leadership of Dr. Cobian and raise the awareness of the school shooting threat. Mr. Hudson, who says he’s concerned Dr. Cobian will, in addition to ensuring police presence at the meeting, move the convening from a spacious high school to the smaller-sized District headquarters in an attempt to discourage mass attendance, said he has a clear demand: expel the student who allegedly made the threat.
If the Superintendent doesn’t comply, Mr. Hudson said the next step is to seek her resignation or kick-off a recall effort. In the Office of the Superintendent of Schools should be someone who’s “bold, courageous and willing to change the culture,” Mr. Hudson stated. Willing to stand alone in this cause, Mr. Hudson, who dates a teacher at the Middle School, feels something bad will happen and said he will do anything, even put his life in danger, to ensure a school shooting doesn’t take place.
It won’t happen, said Mr. Hudson, “not on my watch.”
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Photo: Penns Grove – Carneys Point Regional Schools District webpage