Education

Law Center Makes OPRA Request of Chatham BOE Regarding Teaching of Islam: BOE Says it Won't Change Curriculum

2005f19f5ab5c36f190c_Higgins.JPG
Bob Higgins came before the board and spoke about the OPRA request by the Thomas More Law Center regarding the teaching of Islam in the school district Credits: TAP Chatham
83ff5bd1a5e589001feb_IMG_0735.JPG
Board members Matthew Gilfillan, Jill Critchley Weber and Michelle Clark at meeting on Monday night Credits: TAP Chatham
78744de2432b0d422909_IMG_0746.JPG
Rich Connors said that Chatham will continue to teach what the state mandates at BOE meeting Monday night Credits: TAP Chatham
2005f19f5ab5c36f190c_Higgins.JPG

CHATHAM, NJ - On a night the Chatham Board of Education unanimously passed its 2017-'18 budget, it was revealed that the Thomas More Law Center has made an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request for emails and other documents regarding the teaching of Islam in the district.

"The district has, by law, 10 days to respond once it's received," Peter Daquila, board secretary/administrator, said. "Under legal advisement, an additional response has been sent."

The OPRA action was brought to light during the public portion of the meeting Monday night when Chatham resident Bob Higgins came before the board and said he had made an OPRA request of his own. He filled out a request to find out if the Thomas More Law Center, representing Chatham mothers Nancy Gayer and Libby Hilsenrath, had taken any action.

Sign Up for E-News

Higgins said that the day after he made his own OPRA request, he received a 10-page response from the BOE detailing the 53 specific requests for documentation by the Thomas More Law Center.

According to Higgins, he had been away and heard that Gayer and Hilsenrath were represented by the Thomas More Law Center and wanted to find out if they had taken any action. The two mothers had questioned the BOE on the emphasis on Islam during a February 6 board meeting and then went on "Tucker Carlson Tonight"  Feb. 20 to voice their opinions.

"I got back a 10-page document of 53 points of materials they are looking for," Higgins  said. "No. 1 - A copy of all records, documents or course writings referring to any assignments pertaining to the teachings of Islam in courses within the school district, including but not limited to, the 7th grade World Cultures Geography Class at the Chatham Middle School."

Bob Higgins said there were 53 requests made by the Thomas More Law Center

Higgins went on to say that the OPRA request asked for a copy of all tests or assignments given to the students and their responses, with the names of the students redacted from the documents.

"When does the witch hunt end and when do we say, no, enough is enough," Higgins said. "They're basically just trying to wrestle their way into getting the answer that they want by forcing us to bleed the budget and putting the money where it shouldn't go instead of where it should go."

"We are not changing the curriculum," Michelle Clark, board member, said.

Board president Jill Critchley Weber told Higgins that the BOE can't say "enough is enough" since they have to follow the law.

"We don't have the authority to say 'no mas','' Weber said. "We have to comply. This is the only thing we've recived from them, this OPRA request." (Weber's full response is in the video below).

Board member Rich Connors spoke about the legal aspects and said that the board would continue to follow what the state requires. "I don't see the district backing down in any way, shape or form," Connors said. (see his full comments below).

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, June 25 – Sunday, July 1, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend

FOCUS ON:  SUMMER READING PROGRAM

By Galina Natenzon

All three of the library’s summer reading programs open this week!  The theme of this year’s summer reading is Libraries Rock!  The children’s program kicks off with a magic show by Matt Cadabra on Monday.  Over ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, June 18 – Sunday, June 24, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

This week we are wrapping up our first session of ESL classes.  Stay tuned, we are planning a fall session to start in September.  New students are welcome to enroll!  This is the last week of calm and quiet at the library before our summer reading ...

Angie's Owners Want to Thank Their Chatham Customers

June 14, 2018

To the Editor:

We want to thank our customers and the entire community for their support and devotion to our business. Our last day of business will be July 31.

rWe will miss all the friends that we have developed over the past 26 years. Wishing everyone much success and happiness in the future.

Sincerely,

Louiza and Jimmy Poulimenos

P.S. "Until we meet ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Chatham Students Schroder, Hyland Summa Cum Laude Graduates of Clemson; Huettenmoser Graduates Cum Laude

June 23, 2018

CLEMSON, SC - Chatham residents graduated from Clemson University in spring 2018 commencement ceremonies.

They are: Deianira D. Huettenmoser of Chatham, who graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Jennifer A. Hyland of Chatham, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and Natalie M. Schroder of Chatham, who ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...