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Teacher under fire for 'Mexican' comment on social media after 5-year-old girl goes missing from park

'They're Mexican, it's their culture. They don't supervise their children like we do.'

Image source: Daily Journal video screenshot

Dulce Maria Alavez, 5, disappeared from a New Jersey park last week, the Daily Journal reported.

Dulce's mother was sitting in a vehicle with an 8-year-old relative Sept. 16 while Dulce and her 3-year-old brother were on the swings in Bridgeton's City Park — about 30 yards away from the vehicle, the paper said.

When Dulce's brother returned to the vehicle without her, police began a search that's included an Amber Alert and FBI assistance, the Daily Journal reported in an earlier story.

Image source: Daily Journal video screenshot

'They're Mexican, it's their culture'

A few days after Dulce's disappearance, an in-class resource teacher for Vineland Public Schools commented on a Facebook post that wondered why the girl's mother was in a vehicle instead of with her children, the paper said.

"They're Mexican, it's their culture," Jennifer Hewitt Bishop wrote, according to the Daily Journal. "They don't supervise their children like we do."

Joe Rossi, the district's executive director of personnel, told the paper after it was confirmed that Hewitt Bishop made the "offensive, inflammatory, and entirely unacceptable social media post," she was removed from the classroom.

Rossi gave a recommendation to the school board's policy and personnel subcommittee Wednesday night regarding how to proceed, the Daily Journal added, but a legal review is needed before the district can act.

'Social media is a dangerous place'

The paper said public opinion is divided on the teacher's comment: Some said it's racist while others said it was misinterpreted.

Vineland Education Association President Lou Russo told the Daily Journal that "social media is a dangerous place."

"Comments are often misunderstood and taken out of context by a virtual crowd that rarely takes time to think and reflect or seek clarification before they react with verbal attacks of their own," Russo told the paper, adding that "on social media it seems that some people do not believe public employees have a right to freedom of speech, or even a dissenting viewpoint from the crowd."

What's happening with the search for Dulce?

People who had been at the park told authorities the girl may have gone with a man driving a red van, the Daily Journal said, adding that the man was described as thin, light skinned, clean shaven with acne, possibly Hispanic, and about 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8.

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