the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, in the first Ridgewood Board of Education public meeting since news broke of the series of fights starting at Stevens Field and then on Brookside Field that sent a high school student to the hospital severely beaten , the Board of Education seemed to be in full CMA (Cover my arse ) mode .
While blog readers have understood with the Ridgewood Police Department now investigating,”This is far from cut and dry. Authorities are doing the right thing by exercising due diligence and making sure they have the full story and truth rather than rushing out to appease with a half informed statement that could expose them to a potential suit especially by the accused. Fishbein’s generalized comments are appropriate at this time , the immediate concern should be injured’s recovery regardless of who and what .When the real story comes out then people can assess whether suspensions or penalties are warranted . This is not going away for anyone anytime soon”
The angry crowd of parents and residents wanted answers .
In a message put out by Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools to parents and guardians ,Fishbein wrote “It is important to address and dispel rumors that are circulating in our community and to ask for your understanding that this issue, like all student issues that involve minors and are also part of a student’s record, is, and will remain, confidential. Just as we protect the privacy of your child’s record, we are compelled to do the same for all children involved in this incident. For this reason, we cannot comment on the episode or on the eventual outcome, but I do want to reassure you as both a parent and also as your Superintendent, that I trust the administration to act in the best interest of all the students involved, as well as the entire school community. Anyone found to be involved in this incident will be held accountable in an appropriate way, including possible legal proceedings, school discipline and/or counseling.”
While parents play the blame game the Ridgewood blog will continue to focus on who dropped the ball and who didn’t report the brewing conflict between the kids? Unless this happened over night someone at the school or a parent had to know something .
The policy is that the Ridgewood Board of Education explicitly and unequivocally prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of its students. “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds pursuant to law, that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students and that:
a. a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property;
b. has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
c. creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student’s education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student. !
More importantly an event must be reported , “Any school employee, contracted service provider, Board of Education member, student or volunteer who has witnessed, or has reliable information that a student has been subject to, harassment, intimidation or bullying is obligated by law to report the incident to the school Principal. !
An act of student harassment, intimidation, or bullying must be reported verbally to the Principal on the same day the person witnesses or receives reliable information regarding the incident. ! The incident must then be reported to the Principal in writing, using the appropriate district form, within two (2) school days of when the incident was observed or the information was received.
As a permanent or substitute school employee, a contracted service provider, a Board of Education member, a student or a volunteer in a New Jersey public school district, one of your responsibilities is to know how to respond if you become aware of harassment, intimidation or bullying that needs to be reported.”