Piscataway school officials condemn photos that show students in blackface

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A high school in Middlesex County says it has taken action after photos surfaced of two students in blackface.

Piscataway High School's principal said in a statement to parents last Thursday that a student reported the images, which appeared to be posted on Snapchat.

The photos show a male and a female student in blackface. School officials tell MyCentralJersey.com that the female student's picture was created about three years ago and the picture of the male student was taken more recently. The paper reported that the female student’s photo was not brought to school officials’ attention when it was taken.

Both students are currently enrolled at the school, according to officials.

"Piscataway prides itself on being an inclusive and respectful community, and we take seriously our responsibility to educate all of our students about the hurtful impact of racist images," Piscataway High School Principal Jason Lester said in a statement.

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Superintendent of Schools Teresa Rafferty didn't say what action was taken but said the district's code of conduct includes actions such as counseling, suspension and community service.

Rafferty told MyCentralJersey.com that the photos were “disgusting behavior.”

“We are all upset by the actions of a few,” she said.

Issues of blackface have been in the spotlight this year after a photograph appeared in a 1984 yearbook that supposedly depicts Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a photograph with one person in blackface and another person wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

Northam initially apologized about the photograph, but later denied that he was the person in the picture. He refused to resign from office, despite pressure from critics.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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