What to Know
- A Vineland teacher could be fired for her alleged Facebook comment about a missing New Jersey girl.
- "They're Mexican it’s their culture. They don’t supervise their children like we do," Jennifer Hewitt Bishop allegedly wrote.
- Officials said the comment was in reference to the disappearance of Dulce María Alavez who police believe was abducted on Sept. 16.
A New Jersey teacher could be fired after allegedly making a controversial comment about Mexican culture while responding to a Facebook post on the search for a missing 5-year-old girl.
Dulce María Alavez disappeared Sept. 16 from a playground in Bridgeton City, New Jersey. The girl and her 3-year-old brother were playing while their mother sat in her car with an 8-year-old relative.
The mother told police her son soon ran back to the car crying and pointed to the area where he last saw his sister. They looked but could not locate her.
An Amber Alert was issued the following day. Authorities believe the girl was taken by a man who led her to a red van.
On Sept. 20, Vineland Public Schools became aware of a comment Jennifer Hewitt Bishop, a teacher in the school district, was accused of making on Facebook about the investigation.
While responding to a Facebook post about why the girl's mother was in the car while her daughter vanished, Bishop allegedly wrote, "They're Mexican, it’s their culture. They don’t supervise their children like we do.”
Two Facebook users sent the comment to the district and it was then forwarded to Superintendent Dr. Mary Gruccio and Dr. Joseph Rossi, the Executive Director of Personnel for Vineland Public Schools.
Rossi called the comment "offensive and unacceptable" and the administration launched an investigation. The district said Bishop isn't currently in the classroom and a school board committee meeting on the comment was held Wednesday night. The district has not yet revealed if a decision was made on Bishop during the meeting.
Earlier this week, the FBI added Dulce to its "Most Wanted" list for kidnapping victims with the hopes that it could spark new tips nationwide.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae has asked that the community continue to send in tips.
At the time of her disappearance, Dulce wore a yellow shirt, black and white checkered pants with a flower design and white dress sandals. She has dark brown hair that was tied into a ponytail, police said. She stands around 3 feet, 5 inches tall.
Police said Dulce was taken by a light-skinned male who appeared to be between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 inches tall with a thin build. He was clean-shaven and had acne on his face. The suspect wore orange sneakers (possibly Nike), red pants and a black T-shirt.