Police called to a South Jersey third-grade class party because of “racist” brownie comment

The mother of the third-grader plans to find another public school to send her son next year. I highly recommend home school.


Via Philly.com: On June 16, police were called to an unlikely scene: an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood, New Jersey. A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.

The police officer spoke to the student, who is 9, said the boy’s mother, Stacy dos Santos, and local authorities. Dos Santos said that the school overreacted and that her son made a comment about snacks, not skin color. “He said they were talking about brownies. . . . Who exactly did he offend?” dos Santos said.

The boy’s father was contacted by Collingswood police later in the day. Police said the incident had been referred to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The student stayed home for his last day of third grade.

Dos Santos said that her son was “traumatized,” and that she hopes to send him to a different Collingswood public school in the fall. And she wants an apology. She said she graduated from Collingswood High School and has two other children, a 21-year-old who also went through Collingswood schools, and a 3-year-old. Her husband, the third grader’s father, is Brazilian, dos Santos said.

“I’m not comfortable with the administration [at Tatem]. I don’t trust them and neither does my child,” she said. “He was intimidated, obviously. There was a police officer with a gun in the holster talking to my son, saying, ‘Tell me what you said.’ He didn’t have anybody on his side.

The incident, which has sparked outrage among some parents, was one of several in the last month when Collingswood police have been called to look into school incidents that parents think hardly merit criminal investigation.

Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.

Mayor Jim Maley

Mayor Jim Maley

This has created concern among parents in the 14,000-resident borough, who have phoned their elected officials, met with Mayor James Maley, blasted social-media message boards, and even launched a petition calling on the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office to “stop mandated criminal investigation of elementary school students.”

The increased police involvement follows a May 25 meeting among the Collingswood Police Department, school officials, and representatives from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, where school officials and police both said they were told to report to police any incidents that could be considered criminal, including what Police Chief Kevin Carey called anything “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”

The police and schools were also advised that they should report “just about every incident” to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Carey said.

Previously, the school district, following the state’s Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials, had only reported incidents it deemed serious, like those involving weapons, drugs, or sexual misconduct. Both Carey and School Board President David Routzahn described the protocol set forth after that May meeting as a significant change in procedure.

“It was a pretty clear directive that we questioned vehemently,” Oswald said.

But a month after the meeting, and after police investigations that parents consider fruitless had begun to gain attention, Maley wrote in a public letter that the May 25 meeting was intended to “reinforce the applicability” of the MOA, “not to expand its terms.” Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo, in an accompanying statement, said she hoped Maley’s message “clarifies” the responsibilities of school officials.

Maley said in an interview Tuesday that there had been a “misunderstanding” during the May 25 meeting. But Oswald said the Prosecutor’s Office was shying away from its own instructions. “At some point, it seems, they’ve realized that the intent of the MOA that they’re leaning heavily upon is not what they directed us to do,” Oswald said. “It went way above what that MOA says.”

Another point of contention between the Prosecutor’s Office and school officials is what prompted Maley’s meeting in the first place. In a public letter issued to parents Monday, Routzahn said he was “not aware of any single event” in the district that might have prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to ask for a higher reporting standard.

But Maley said the Prosecutor’s Office had been concerned about a “delay” in reporting an incident at Collingswood High School this spring. He would not comment further, noting that the incident was under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Oswald said the high school incident had not been raised during the meeting May 25.

“I welcome discussion on that as well,” he said.

Several parents said they consider the recent police involvement not only ridiculous but harmful. Megan Irwin, who has two daughters who have attended Collingswood public schools and who teaches first grade in Pennsauken, said the police had been called to deal with behavior the schools could easily have handled.

“Some of it is just typical little-kid behavior,” Irwin said. “Never in my years of teaching have I ever felt uncomfortable handling a situation or felt like I didn’t know how to handle a situation.”

And Pam Gessert, a Collingswood resident who works as a school counselor in Burlington County, said that because teachers have the best relationships with students, they are most qualified to determine what happened in a particular incident.


19 responses to “Police called to a South Jersey third-grade class party because of “racist” brownie comment

  1. For one, police should handle criminal cases that are serious in the public domain, and traffic control. This is idiotic to say the least. Teachers should be able to handle the students and not bother police on petty things. As for this article? The teacher is a moron idiotic liberal showing the students “I’m the boss”. Police should have admonished the stupid teacher for bothering the police for nonsense. The kid the that was “offended”? I can pretty well guess his instructions from home and their type of lifestyle. Where is freedom of speech? Someone picks their nose and someone else calls the police because it offends them. Really?!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lived in South Jersey for several years. Their mindset is….. different. I was probably ‘offended’ by their rudeness on a daily basis the whole time we lived there (not to mention the way they drive with their heads up their collective ass). So glad to eventually leave the Socialist State of New Jersey.

    Collingswood was the boyhood home town of the late actor, Michael Landon, by the way (just a bit of worthless trivia for you all).

    Say, the ‘honorable’ mayor looks so nice with his Pink Bow Tie. He probably wears rainbow briefs, too.

    South Jersey sucks….. literally and figuratively.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tell me . . . what do you call those baked confections that are made with chocolate, sugar, flour and cut into squares or rectangles? I don’t know that there is any other name but . . . “brownies!” The school administrator is obviously one brick short of a load, and he needs to be replaced by someone who is at least sane. That the Collingswood Police Dept would be called out on an issue that is as imbecilic as this should garner a fee for the person who initiated the call. This is a major waste of public monies. That poor little boy no doubt is emotionally scared, because how could he possibly understand why the police were called when he did nothing wrong. The further tragedy is that the State Children’s Welfare agency was called in to inspect, no doubt, the home life of this family. No wonder we see more mental disease in today’s young people. The people of Collingsworth need to rise up and make sure that this looney administrator is kicked to the curb!

    DCG . . . great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Left’s collective insanity just keeps getting worse & worse….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kevin J Lankford

    Hard to determine whose side to be on. Don’t have any idea what the youngsters comment was; and sounds as if he may be an illegal alien, any how.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If I’m the parents, I’m talking to a lawyer right about now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A young woman teaching in a CT city high school, whose interest was in uplifting inner-city education, told me some years ago she had to leave because in routine disciplinary encounters with black troublemakers in the classroom, hallways, or cafeteria, the black school guards and black assistant principal sided with the black kids against the white teachers. She’s as liberal as it gets, but that didn’t save her from having her new car “keyed” all along the sides and door panel kicked in by the “kids.”

    Until just the other day I was on friendly terms with a Porsche-driving successful entrepreneur who’s an old-school black socialist and great fan of Castro. Everything, and I mean everything, in the most casual conversation on current events–God forbid that I mentioned “brownies”– is eventually redirected to supposed white racism. To be truthful, I’d been letting it slide to avoid further contentiousness, but I’d had it, so the other day I finally pointed out that the real issue is sevenfold more likely black-on-white racist crime and that his beloved Hillary and Bernie’s open borders policy ensures young inner-city blacks will never find a decent job in their lifetime and reinforces his lamenting that 70% of the US prison population are young, inner-city black men. The icing on the cake was my telling him this black-against-white rift has been orchestrated by the Jews. I doubt the local police will be questioning me, but it’d be worth it for not having to listen to such Talmudic inversion, twisting his own racism into one-sided victimhood. Talk about having your strings pulled and thoughts authored by your worst enemy, whose greatest teacher, Maimonides, taught that blacks are subhuman intermediates closer to the ape than man.


    • “She’s as liberal as it gets, but that didn’t save her from having her new car “keyed” all along the sides and door panel kicked in by the “kids.”
      NOTHING seems to trump the “Reverse RAAAAAAcism” the Blacks (and Hispanics to a lesser degree) so readily use to excuse their OWN behavior,attitudes and shortcomings in Society.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cretins like you who blame everything on “da jews” are just as bad as the black racists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please note that I intended my comment to be in response to Dan’s anti-semitism. It was in no way intended as a criticism of the article, which is excellent. Somehow my post got posted in the wrong place.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It is only a matter of time before Crayola is ordered to change certain names of a certain color of crayons. Watch for it.
    A brownie is a brownie is a brownie.


  10. WTF????!!!!! I hear this comment (“you are racist”) almost EVERY DAY in my middle school classroom—either directed at me….OR, exchanged liberally, and OFTEN, between students. I IMMEDIATELY pounce upon it…and nearly yell out…”YES!!! YES!!!! We are ALL racists!!! WE ALL belong to the HUMAN RACE!!!!!! MOVE ON!!!!” Yawn—I am SOOOOOOO
    “over” this random, catch-all, accusation/comment.


  11. Good grief–the boy didn’t call it a blackie.


  12. Ross Blankert

    There is nothing so stupid as political correctness gone viral and to elementary school. Children learn what they learn from adults. So call the police when the McDonald’s gets your order wrong or someone thinks little boys and girls use what someone else feels is a racial slurr. I had an idiot call the police on me when he heard my wife call him an asshole. This was through a closed door in my own apartment about a guy in the next apartment that apparently was listening at his door to find out what we were saying. In my estimation he proved my point but I did not say it as my wife said it and I simply agreed with her. Imagine if they saw a real crime going down.


  13. what in the world are they teaching 8 and 9 year old kids that they need to scream out “racism!” at the drop of a hat?
    these people are freakin’ nuts…the nanny state needs the pink slip.


  14. Now we know where all the people in the insane asylums went when the government closed those asylums. They are employed by the Collingswood New Jersey School District.


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