Plainfield High School girls basketball team arrived at the Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark, NJ. for a Saturday morning game. The greeting was lukewarm, to say the least: when they entered a room designated to the team, they saw a black puppet, hanging by a string looped around its neck and hand, a basketball attached to one end. Its eyes seemed to be bulging from its head and its mouth was gaping.
Plainfield first-year head coach Keshon Bennett confirmed that the incident occurred, and said his team played the game after seeing the dummy, losing 64-20. He said they quickly left the school after the game's conclusion.
"We have been made aware that a picture taken by the coach or a member of the Plainfield Girl's Basketball Team has been posted on social media of a puppet that was reportedly posed in a classroom located in the Clark Public Schools," Clark Superintendent Edward Grande said in a statement. "The Clark Board Education and the Clark Community does not condone any demonstrations of intolerance. It is premature to make any further statements until such time as the investigation is completed."
“When other go low, we must continue to go high! Racism is alive and well...,” Terence Johnson, an announcer for Plainfield home games, posted in The Buzz In and Around Plainfield, New Jersey. “PHS girls bball team found this in the locker at they game today at A.L Johnson in Clark! [Bennett] did the right thing in my book by playing and making sure the girls were back on the bus safely without causing a scene.”
According to state census data from 2010, the last available numbers, Plainfield had an African-American population of 50 percent compared to Clark's African-American population of 0.8 percent that same year.