Teacher blames Mexican culture for missing girl

A New Jersey school district says it’s taking action after a teacher’s comments about a missing 5-year-old girl sparked outrage, CBS Philly reports. The little girl, Dulce Maria Alavez, was playing with her brother when she vanished from a playground in Bridgetown, New Jersey, on September 16, while her mother sat in a parking lot nearby.

Police said they believe the child was abducted, and an Amber Alert remains in effect.

While the search for the little girl continued, a local teacher shared her opinion on the case in a Facebook comment. Jennifer Hewitt Bishop, a teacher in nearby Vineland, responded to a post about the missing girl by blaming Dulce Maria Alavez’s Mexican culture for her disappearance, NJ.com reported.

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“They’re Mexican, it’s their culture. They don’t supervise their children like we do,” Hewitt Bishop wrote, according to NJ.com.

Dulce Maria Alavez was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant, black and white pants, and white shoes. She disappeared from a New Jersey playground on Sept. 16, 2019. CBS Philly

On Friday, Vineland Public School District was made made aware of an “offensive and unacceptable social media post allegedly made by a district employee,” a district spokesperson told CBS News via email.

“Central Administration began an immediate investigation and discovered the post was made by a teacher. Appropriate action was taken,” the statement continued. It is unclear what the action was.

Joe Rossi, the Vineland district’s executive director of personnel, told NJ.com the teacher is “out of the classroom,” but did not specify whether she was suspended or still working for the district.

The Board of Education’s personnel committee discussed the matter during a meeting on Wednesday night and district legal counsel is reviewing the situation. The district spokesperson added that any outcome involving employment status will not be made public by the the school district.

An Amber Alert for Alavez is still in effect. The suspect is described as a light-skinned, possibly Hispanic, man with acne and no facial hair. He is between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 with a thin build, according to CBS Philly.

Police say the suspect put Alavez in a red SUV or van. She was last seen wearing a yellow shirt with an elephant, black and white pants, and white shoes. Police are asking anyone with information to call 856-451-0033 or text anonymously to TIP411.

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