Princeton high school students pictured playing 'Jews vs. Nazis' beer pong

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Friday, April 8, 2016
NJ high school students pictured playing 'Jews vs. Nazis'
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Darla Miles reports live from Princeton, New Jersey.

PRINCETON, New Jersey -- Police are investigating a photo posted on social media that showed students from a New Jersey high school playing a "Jews vs. Nazis" drinking game.

The photo was shared on Snapchat, where one Princeton High School student captured it and wrote about it on her blog. It shows students playing a version of beer pong dubbed "Holocaust Pong" or "Alcoholocaust." Students can be seen pouring beer into two sets of cups that were arranged in the forms of a Star of David and a swastika.

The 17-year-old student who blogged about the photo, Jamaica Ponder, said the students were her classmates.

"They are athletes and student leaders," Ponder said. "They're prominent individuals that everybody knows, captains of sports teams."

The Princeton Police Department said Friday morning that they've started an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the photo. Lt. John Bucchere said that possession of alcohol by minors on private property is not a crime.

"However, if there is evidence that someone bought alcohol for minors or provided a place specifically for them to consume it, that is illegal," Bucchere said.

Princeton Superintendent Steve Cochrane said he's deeply upset that students engaged in a drinking game with "clearly anti-Semitic" overtones.

"An incident such as this one, forces us to take a hard look at our efforts in educating our children in the values that may be most important to their success in life," Cochrane said.

He said the district is talking to the students and their families about the photo.

Cochrane released the following statement:

"As an individual and as the Superintendent of the Princeton Public Schools, I am deeply upset that some of our students chose to engage in a drinking game with clearly anti-Semitic overtones and to broadcast their behavior over social media. We are talking to those students and their families. We are also focused on the lessons this incident has for all of us. Underage drinking is not a new problem; nor is the misuse of social media; nor are actions of bias or bigotry. They are not new problems, but they do not have to be ongoing ones. As a community we all have a role in teaching our children to make good decisions, to be legally responsible, and to be respectful members of a diverse society. An incident such as this one, forces us to take a hard look at our efforts in educating our children in the values that may be most important to their success in life. I am hopeful that as school district we can join with parents, with other agencies in our community, and with students themselves to elevate our efforts to prepare our children to be people of character."

The school board also released a statement:

"The Board of Education is aware of and concerned about the photograph depicting an insensitive drinking game that has been circulating in social media. Superintendent Cochrane, Principal Snyder and PHS staff have responded quickly and with care to address the complex issues raised, and as a board,we are confident in their ability to properly handle this matter. Any decisions about possible disciplinary consequences for the students involved are and will remain confidential. Princeton Public Schools does not tolerate prejudices of any kind. Clearly we have work to do. The issues we are presented with - bias, ethnic insensitivity, underage alcohol abuse and inappropriate social media use - are neither new nor unique to Princeton, but this incident has brought them into sharp focus. This incident raises difficult questions for all of us in the community about what we are teaching our children both in school and at home. As a district we will closely examine our efforts to address the root causes of these problems to ensure that Princeton Public Schools remains first and foremost a place of tolerance and caring."