A New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union representative said the group is aware of the controversy surrounding a video made by an Egg Harbor Township High School student but could not say if it would get involved.
Deputy Director Jeanne LoCicero said she could not comment on any specific compliant or call, but said the ACLU does have concerns about the level of discipline reportedly administered and the involvement of law enforcement. A parent had told The Press of Atlantic City she planned to contact the ACLU.
LoCicero said any ACLU involvement would depend on school policy and whether students broke any rules during the filming.
“We would really need to know more,” she said.
The controversy developed over a video posted on YouTube that shows students at the school throwing dice, fake-fighting and dancing at the school, accompanied by a profanity-laced rap song. The school’s name is visible in the video.
School officials issued a statement saying they were investigating but have made no comment on any action taken in response to the video.
Students held a brief walkout Tuesday in response to reports that as many as 10 students had been suspended for as long as 10 days. The high school scheduled a meeting with students Thursday to discuss school policies and procedures, but it was not open to the public or media.
A student started a change.org petition that had 787 supporters Thursday, most saying they thought the punishment was too harsh.
A Twitter hashtag #freetonybeatz was also started, referring to the student who made the video.
The district’s technology policy prohibits electronic recordings at school unless prior permission is granted.
The district also has a progressive discipline policy that includes lunch, after-school and Saturday detention.
`Out-of-school suspension is considered “the most serious disciplinary action.” Students have the right to a hearing before the suspension.