Escalating a Problem at School Explained at Mountainside Board of Ed Meeting


MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The best ways for parents of students in Mountainside schools get resolutions to problems or issues was explained by Nancy Lubarsky, the chief school administrator, at the most recent Board of Education meeting.

Lubarsky showed several presentation slides describing who parents should contact first with school-related questions. The slides also listed what she described as a “chain of command” within the school administration identifying school personnel parents can contact if they feel the need to escalate an issue.

“It sometimes seems that there is some confusion, and members of the public don't know who to go to first when there is an issue or a problem. So that's really what this (presentation) is,” Lubarsky said on Tuesday evening at Deerfield Middle School, where the school board meeting was held.

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“On occasion, a parent may have a concern, a complaint, a suggestion or request related to a school or classroom issue, decision, policy or practice,” she said. “Many of these questions are easily and completely answered by communicating directly with the educator in charge of the class or program.”

“Each situation should first be addressed at whatever level the initial action was taken, with appeals moving on to the next level in the chain of command,” Lubarsky said.

As one example, she talked about the chain of command when escalating a curriculum or instruction issue.

“The teacher would be the first person a parent would go to,” the head administrator said. “If it is a special education student, the teacher may want to engage the case manager for that special education student.”

“If there is no satisfaction at that level, the parent would then go to the principal or the director of curriculum – it depends on the issue at hand. It may also involve the supervisor of special services,” she said.

The principal would direct the parent to the relevant person, Lubarsky further explained.

“If there is no satisfaction at that level, either with the principal or the director of curriculum or supervisor of special services, then it would come to the chief school administrator (superintendent),” Lubarsky said. “If there is no satisfaction at that level, only then would it go to the board of education.”

“I know that some parents want to go up the chain (of command) because they don't want to be identified as complaining about a problem because there is some idea that there will be retribution and their children are going to be treated unfairly if a teacher finds out that they are the ones that are complaining about an issue,” she said. “But that just doesn't happen. and we won't allow that to happen.”

“We can't fix a problem unless the problem is identified and the person is identified, especially if it involves a particular student. The student has to be identified to the teacher in order to solve the problem,” Lubarsky said. “Even I can't fix it if the parent doesn't want to identify the child to the teacher as having an issue.”

The slides Lubarsky presented will be published on the  htMountainside School District website.


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