Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane issued a statement this afternoon expressing his distress about a photo of a group of Princeton High School students playing a drinking game called “Jew vs. Nazi Beer Pong” that has circulated on social media, a blog, and news stories.
“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,” Cochrane wrote.
Some of the students in the beer pong photo are athletes at the high school. Others are peer leaders who are part of the PER education program at the school. Several parents have expressed dismay that students who are supposed to be role models were playing the game and drinking when they are under age. The game took place in the basement of a private home in Princeton last weekend.
Cochrane said school district officials are talking to the students in the photo and their families.
“We are also focused on the lessons this incident has for all of us,” Cochrane wrote. “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.”
“Jews vs. Nazis beer pong” is the same as regular beer pong, except cups are arranged in the shape of a swastika and a Star of David. The “Jews” are allowed to hide one of their cups as the “Anne Frank” cup and the “Nazis” are allowed to “Auschwitz” their opponents, meaning that one of their players must temporarily sit out.
The photo of the Princeton High students playing the game, sent to Planet Princeton by a handful of upset parents Wednesday night, shows seven students standing around a table with the red cups and a few dozen cans of Coors Light.
A fellow student who was upset when she saw the photo of the game on Snapchat wrote a blog post Wednesday that then was shared hundreds of times on Facebook. The photo and stories about the game have sparked discussions about anti-semitism, underage drinking, and parental responsibility.
“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,” Cochrane wrote. “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.”