A New Jersey school district that some say has gone overboard in how it handles internal incidents recently confronted its latest issue—this time involving a 9-year-old's "racist" comment about a snack, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. At a third-grade party at Collingswood's William P. Tatem Elementary School, a student made a remark about brownies at the festivities, and another student said the comment was "racist." The next thing everyone knew, the school had called the police, and the boy who made the comment was being interrogated by an officer, per the boy's mom. "He said they were talking about brownies," says Stacy dos Santos. "Who exactly did he offend?" The hubbub can be traced to a May meeting in which the Camden County Prosecutor's office ordered cops to step in whenever a possible crime is committed in the schools, the Courier-Post reports.
That action was spurred by the failure of the district to report a previous allegation of criminal conduct, which is still being investigated and which the Collingswood police chief says wasn't an "egregious" matter. But parents and the school board say the prosecutor's directive has gotten out of hand, with the district superintendent noting that cops have been called to the schools up to five times a day over the last month. "It is unfathomable to us that the [prosecutor's office] believes that having uniformed police officers responding to incidents of name-calling or a second-grade playground shove is appropriate for the children or taxpayers of Collingswood," the school board's president wrote in a letter that went out to the community. (Cops were called after parents brawled at a kindergarten play.)