NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Both Board President Adam Smith and Superintendent David Miceli addressed the recent security “incident” at the Thursday, Dec. 12 Board of Education (BOE) meeting. The incident had taken place earlier that day.
Smith thanked the school administration and the Borough Police Department for their quick response as the schools went in lockdown due to an incident that took place at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights. Although the threat appeared to be unsubstantiated the district and the community are pleased that the police are taking every threat seriously, he stated. Miceli echoed Smith as he commended the administration and police. He also thanked both students and parents for their cooperation and patience as the lockdown was put in place at the dismissal time.
A parent, speaking on behalf of multiple concerned parents during the open public speaking session, noted that there is anxiety among the school community as to what consequences there are for students making threats via social media. She also noted that due to the confidentiality clause parents don’t know what is going on after an incident and what consequences there are for the involved student.
Smith replied that the safety of the students is the number one concern for the district. He noted that there are policies in place, and they are followed by the police and the administration. If a student is perceived to be a threat to the school or other students at that school, he or she is not coming to school, he ensured. There is “a tremendous amount of checks and balances” that are dealt with. He noted that as a public institution the district has to educate all students. In the past 20 years only one student has been expelled. The district has a number of steps it takes to make sure that all students are safe. However, there is only a limited amount of information the district can give to the public, he explained.
With regard to other news Board Member Ira Krauss informed the board of the recent malware attacks in some nearby school districts and advised that the district enhance its cyber security. Smith noted that the district has to evaluate its cyber security and protect its computer systems.
Furthermore, Board Member Bernadette Cuccaro explained that the Communications Committee has been working on a plan on how to communicate with the public and when to use social media platforms. We don’t want to send important district information though Facebook, instead such messaging will continue to go through the district website and emails, she explained. However, the Athletic Department has expressed an interest in using Facebook and Twitter for real-time information on games and student achievements.
Additionally, the district heard the 2018-2019 audit report presented by School District Auditor Jason Gironda of Donahue, Gironda, Doria and Tomkins, LLC. According to the report the district’s financial status continues to be in good standing.
The district reorganization meeting will take place on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm.