A school psychologist in New Orleans is under fire for posting racially inflammatory comments online amid a debate about the school system's treatment of black and special education students.
The Jefferson Parish school system is investigating Mark Traina after some of his postings -- including “Young Black Thugs who won’t follow the law need to be put down not incarcerated. Put down like the Dogs they are!” -- were highlighted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Traina's comments - including “Serpas should be warning people to STAY THE HELL OUT OF NEW ORLEANS! These Black Dudes will Kill You!” - were posted on hisTwitter feed and on the NOLA.com Website. In an April Tweet, he wrote that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman was "the real victim and held his ground."
The civil rights group complained to the U.S. Department of Education about Traina's comments the day after filing a federal complaint against the Jefferson Parish Public Schools for alleged discrimination against black students, reports WWL-TV. The SPLC claims that black students are disproportionately referred to alternative schools for minor cases of misconduct such as disrespectful behavior and use of profanity. Though they make up less than half of the student body, black students make up 78 percent of the referrals.