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Jefferson Parish School System investigates alleged racial comments

Published: May. 22, 2012 at 3:16 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 4, 2012 at 11:16 PM CDT
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The Jefferson Parish School System says it will investigate alleged racist remarks by one of its own employees.

The Southern Poverty Law Center tells FOX  8, it has already alerted the U-S department of education about the comments.

The alleged inflammatory comments were made by a child psychologist for the Jefferson parish school district. Many of those remarks were made on Twitter.

The tweets are attributed to 55 year old Mark Traina.

One sent out on January 14th says quote, "Young black thugs who won't follow the law need to be put down, not incarcerated. Put down like the dogs they are."

Another tweet, also from January reads quote, "Serpas should be warning people to stay the hell out of New Orleans. These black dudes will kill you."

Still another appears to be in an apparent response to the Travyon Martin case.

One of Traina's tweets from March 31st says quote, "Protestors march- Florida. How come white people don't protest when blacks kill whites which occurs too often? Is that politically correct?"

The southern poverty law center says it became aware of the comments the day after it filed a federal discrimination complaint against the school district. That complaint alleges a that disproportionate number of African American students and students with disabilities are being pushed into alternative schools.

Eden Heilman with the Southern Poverty Law Center says, "It's very alarming , very concerning. Obviously it's very worrisome to have someone who is in a position of authority for a school district that is almost 50% black, talking pro-segregation. We're hoping the office of civil rights will take that into account when they do an investigation into the disparities at the schools."

An attorney for the law center says they first saw comments Traina made on Nola.com and recognized his name right away because he had been involved in decisions about students going to alternative schools.

FOX 8 did speak to Mark Traina by phone.

He didn't deny making the comments.

He says they don't represent his work for the school system. They represent him personally.