A New Jersey borough councilman is being blasted for a now-deleted Facebook post in which he referred to students in urban school districts as "crack heads."
Ryan Smith, first elected to the Hopatcong Borough Council in November 2018, used the social network to share an online petition last week asking New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the state Education Department to stop or reverse cuts to aid for the town's school district, reports the New Jersey Herald.
"Sign this petition to implore our Governor to stop raping our school system to support the urban crack heads," Smith's post read. "$8M of cuts in State Funding is NOT 'We support education.' It is simply forcing our Schools to raise taxes."
When hit with a barrage of criticism, Smith at first edited the post, but by Sunday he apparently had deactivated his personal Facebook and another account he used in his capacity as a councilman. Hopatcong is a community of just over 15,000 residents in northern New Jersey.
Smith, in an emailed statement to the New Jersey Herald, said he was "sincerely sorry for the language that I used" in the post. He said his comments were those of an "irate father" and he has no intention of resigning from his role as councilman.
"That is an absolutely disgusting statement, and these kids did nothing wrong," Hopatcong resident Heather Fiore said to Smith at a borough council meeting last week. "The crackheads that you refer to — nobody I know is a crackhead. I know a lot of people from those towns and those types of towns. I spent my entire childhood there. So that's disgusting, and you should be asked to step down."
Another Hopatcong resident, Rachel Rodriguez, was upset about Smith's use of the term "raping."
"I can assure you that language should not be used to display any type of disgust on what's happening with our school funding," she said. "It's a disservice to the cause at hand to deter the attention to someone's choice of words rather than what you're trying to fix. Every student in our state deserves the same opportunity, and that begins with an equal and fair school funding formula."