RANDOLPH, NJ - Randolph Superintendent Jennifer Fano presented action steps and reflections to the Board of Education, stating her support of the actions on Sept. 1 based on information they had at the time but agreed on the need to revisit the policy.
Specifically, Fano believes the policy works well in a small, classroom setting but breaks down when applied to a large group.
“Anytime an event happens, the number one thing you can expect from your administrative team is that we are reflective,” Fano said. “When we’re talking about substance abuse, the current policy isn’t written for correctly for [large-scale] events.”
They also plan to revisit the consequences associated with the policy. Currently, the penalty for a positive blood alcohol test is a five-day suspension from school, but “we're in the business of educating our students so we want to look at maybe including some additional options.”
Fano plans to meet with the medical facilities in the area to decide on the best protocol for a large group. She mentioned partnering with local clinics for after-school incidents, as well.
The question of police involvement and support in the incident has come up many times and Fano “met with Chief Stokoe to find out if we could have asked for more… The police were hired in that scenario to support the district in implementing the policy, not implementing the police policies.”
The final aspect of the situation Fano identified on her action plan was the reunification of the students with their parents. While the school performs drills for various disasters throughout the year, Fano admits the school officials did not follow the drills during this incident.
“Could we have checked students in using our Genesis program, which is something we do when we practice it, but we didn’t utilize that evening because it was out of context for us,” Fano said. “Again, it’s something we don’t do frequently enough, and we’re reflecting on it to hopefully get better.”
Board member Colleen Pascale thanked Fano for her “very thorough” action plan. “It’s important to highlight a word the superintendent used, and that’s reflection… What did we do right? What could we have done differently? What could we have done better? Because even when we do it great, we know we can improve upon it with reflection.”
The administration scheduled a community Situation Appraisal and Problem Analysis for October 4 at 6pm in the RHS Library, and Fano encouraged all parents to attend and share their thoughts not only on this event but substance abuse at future school-sponsored events.
The Policy Committee for the Board of Education will be discussing Policy 5530 and 5535 at their next public meeting on October 17 at 5:30pm in the RHS Media Library.
Pascale suggested the administration reach out to the PTO for additional discussion, in case parents are unable to attend these public meetings.