Essex County News

Bloomfield Parents Protest Board of Education Decision to Add Armed Guards to All Public Schools

f90294f962b3ab871483_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_m.jpg
cfe039955f1fa09ead6f_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_k.jpg
bd5ad7240bb3d5dee130_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_i.jpg
5dcfed68b39ae5b31c7f_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_e.jpg
f4a86d1f0d51c71f770c_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_h.jpg
d47323d9b552cd74601f_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_f.jpg
d87541cb2e79aa0b0592_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_g.jpg
b5124b3767d7e19b3884_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_j.jpg
2416b5bad283db0b3800_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_l.jpg
f90294f962b3ab871483_BOE_Bloomfield_June_5_2018_m.jpg

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Emotions ran high prior to and during Monday's Board of Education meeting at Bloomfield High School.

Prior to the regularly scheduled meeting, about 25 parents protested outside of the main entrance with signs expressing their disapproval of the placing of armed guards in all district schools.  Several parents had megaphones, while many drivers passing by on Broad Street honked their horns in support.

The protest continued outside while the BOE was in private Executive Session for the first hour.  The public meeting then followed and was peaceful.   

Sign Up for E-News

A packed Library Media Center saw more than 120 individuals gather for the public meeting, which began with high school principal Chris Jennings, and middle school principal Alta Vayda-Manzo, addressing the board in support of adding school resource officers (SRO’s).

“It’s about building relationships, and Officer Camacho who we already have in the middle school and who is here with us (at the meeting tonight) is very valuable,” said Vayda-Manzo.  “Kids can go to him anytime during the school day in addition to him being a direct line to our police department.”

The high school and middle school already have SRO’s in place, with the BOE looking to add them to the elementary schools.  The principles’ spoke about their experiences with SRO’s in their schools.

“Detective Muniz in the high school provides positive interactions with students,” said Jennings.  “From bullying issues to student conflicts, our kids feel comfortable with him.”

The attendees respectfully applauded both principles at the conclusions of their statements.

Public Safety director Samuel DeMaio then took to the podium to express his views about the officers in the middle school and high school, as well as the BOE adding SRO’s – who would be employees of the Bloomfield Police Department – into the elementary schools.

“It’s about building a community trust between the students and the school district and the police department…it’s an invaluable resource,” DeMaio said.  “We need security in our schools for the safety of our students.”

“How many incidents do we need in this country before we change what we do?” DeMaio added.  “Confusion in a school is what prolongs an active shooter situation.  Having an SRO can help relay information immediately to our police department and it saves time and it saves lives.”

The BOE went directly to the public comment portion of the meeting, which allots 45-minutes of time and is limited to three-minutes per person.  Due to the emotional nature of the subject matter, the comment portion was extended and ran nearly two hours, with some individuals speaking longer than three minutes.

Public comment speakers included parents, teachers, former teachers, residents and current students.  Some spoke of personal experiences, some about possible taxpayer implications, while others recited school shooting statistics.   Only three of the 45 members of the public that spoke were in favor of SRO’s. 

First up to address the meeting was Rich Galioto, a former BOE member and military veteran.

“I’m in favor of metal detectors instead of SRO’s,” Galioto said.  “I’d rather have the metal detectors help keep guns and knives out of the schools rather than risk someone bringing them into the schools in the first place.”

The approximate price tag of SRO’s in all public schools will cost the township a total $555,000 annually.

Maria Sanders, a parent and former school social worker, said, “having armed officers in our elementary schools is losing focus of the real issue.  We need more guidance counselors and teachers to improve communication and help with mental health issues.  The reason most elementary schools don’t have an armed officer is because they don’t need one.”

DeMaio also fielded questions from the public and addressed their concerns.  The BOE said the many questions addressed directly to the board will be answered later, presumably at the next board meeting.

Broadcast media and television crews from New York City were also present at the meeting. 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montclair

Former Jefferson School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

NJ Native and Children Shot in Colorado Road Rage Incident: Child Dies

June 22, 2018

WESTMINSTER, COLORADO: A native of Colts Neck, NJ and her children were attacked in a road rage shooting that left her 13 year old son dead and both her and another child injured. A third child was able to run to safety.

Jeremy Webster, 23, was charged with first degree murder, extreme indifference; three counts of attempted first-degree murder; three counts of first-degree assault ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9f96b00f934f44e64d68_fridays-for-families-social-media-03

Fri, June 22, 3:00 PM

Outside of U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, Morristown

Fridays for Families: Vigil in Morristown calls ...

Government Health & Wellness Law & Justice

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Montclair Police Blotter: Thai Chef Burglarized, Four iPhones Stolen and More

June 13, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -  The following police blotter was compiled by the Montclair Police Department on June 12, 2018:

Burglary/Theft:

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Burglary to an apartment.  Cash was taken in this incident.  Access was gained through an unlocked rear door.  

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Theft of a scooter from the rear yard of a residence.

06-05-2018 (Elm ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Montclair July 4th Celebrations to Honor Township's Sesquicentennial

June 22, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair is celebrating July 4th with a special 150th anniversary themed parade and fun-packed family picnic – expanded to mark the Township's sesquicentennial in style. The day’s events will be followed by evening fireworks at Yogi Berra Stadium on the Montclair State University campus. The parade and picnic are free, admission to the stadium will be $3 ...