FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - Albert J. Fico, principal at Hillcrest Elementary School, apologized in a letter sent to parents on June 14, for an incident that occurred while disciplining a student earlier this month. 

Fico will be on a voluntary leave using vacation time until Monday, while the district conducts its investigation. The school year ended for students on June 16. 

Specifics of the incident were not disclosed due to the district's policy not to discuss issues involving an ongoing investigation. 

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"The actual account of what occurred is different from some of the accounts that I believe are being repeated throughout the community," Fico stated in his letter. "While I cannot disclose information regarding any specific student publically, I am comfortable speaking about my involvement with this incident."

Fico stated in his letter, while he was conducting a counseling session he, "arrived at a solution that some have perceived as causing humiliation or harm to the student. Please understand that this was not the case and certainly not my intention. My intention was to problem solve and work with the student to help the student address the behavioral difficulties."

Director of School Management Orvl Wilson wrote in a letter to parents that, "an investigation is being conducted to ascertain the facts."

"Please know that the safety and wellbeing of our students and school community is my primary concern," Fico stated in his letter. "It was because of that concern that I have stepped aside and taken a voluntary leave of absence until this school year ends while the district thoroughly investigates this matter."

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ravally stated to another news outlet, "Obviously, I can't divulge much information because it involves a student and an employee. But there were problems solving some behavioral difficulties a student was having."

Editor's note: This is an ongoing investigation and as soon as new information becomes available this article will be updated. 

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