In The Schools

Randolph Board of Education Addresses Football Game Incident Tuesday Night, Policy and Concerns

RANDOLPH, NJ -  Board President Al Matos described the first day of school as the “best ever,” but could not proceed without acknowledging the football season opener which resulted in blood tests for approximately 80 Randolph High School students.

“There was great concern by administrators and the school security team that a large group of students seated in the student fan home section… may have been under the influence of alcohol and were required to be tested under Board Policy 5530,” Matos said.

“With a large group of students involved in this late Friday evening before a major holiday, the task was overwhelming, but our staff and administrators handled the challenge in a professional and caring manner,” he added.

Sign Up for E-News

Matos explained a Supreme Court ruling that the probable cause needed for police officers to justify an unwarranted search would be too extreme in school situations, so school officials follow “the well-established standard of reasonable suspicion.”

He added that families will receive reimbursement from the district for any negative tests, and parents should reach out to the administration to begin that process.

“Let’s review the facts…. The said situation began when a container of beer fell or was thrown in front of school personnel charged with monitoring the student fan section of the home bleachers. This act alone was not the reason for testing, as reported in some media outlets,” Matos said.

Further investigation by the administration found open containers of beer and the section smelled strongly of alcohol, Matos reported. Several students were visibly intoxicated, and administrators found more containers after students were removed from the section. Matos said the classrooms where students waited for their parents smelled of alcohol, as well.

“You should know that during the investigation, students provided staff members with certain social media photos and videos showing our students consuming alcohol at a house party, which started several hours before game time,” he mentioned.

New Jersey has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking, Matos continued, and he believes a school staff member cannot use a visual assumption of innocence with this zero-tolerance policy.

“You said at the start of your report that you were going to distinguish between your thoughts and when you’re speaking on behalf of the board, but I don’t think that was clearly stated,” board member Colleen Pascale said. “I don’t agree with and have a different belief than you, which I cited in the policy meeting and in closed session,... but I do not agree with all the points in the president’s report.”

Ron Conti, chair of the policy committee, invited parents to the upcoming open policy meeting (Oct. 17 at 5:30pm in the Randolph High School Media Library) to discuss revisions and clarifications to Policy 5530.

Parent Kathy Fodali said, “We can’t go back and make that not happen; however, I see nothing from the administration or the board that this is not going to happen again.”

“No one here has taken any responsibility for their failure to do their job that night,” Fodali continued, stating that security did not check bags and containers at the entrance to the game. “There will be no peace until there’s accountability.”

“I do agree with the actions that were taken, I’m just concerned about the level it was taken and specifically the number of students that were corralled,” began parent Tom Murphy. “What guarantee can the administration give us as parents that this won’t happen again?”

Murphy commented that if his child wants to be involved in school spirit and visit with friends in the fan section, he might “be one of those that… gets hauled in and asked for a drug test” under the current policy.

Senior Class President Nate Pangaro spoke to the board on behalf of students involved in the incident, providing feedback and questions about the process and noting the difficulty in reaching out to parents when the school has very poor cell reception.

“I was interviewed by Channel 4 news, and before I made an answer to them I called my mother… and she told me to go talk to the administration. And the administration was very friendly on the matter,” Pangaro stated. “And we both agreed that we did not want to look at the problems and start rehashing the problems, we wanted to figure out the solution.”

He hopes the school will create an organized plan that all staff members understand and follow.

By comparison, an intruder entered the school this past week, and Pangaro believes “it was very organized, and students knew what to do, and it was settled as soon as possible. That’s what I want to see and what I think the community wants to see.”

"When these events happen, our community must stand together, unified, to find a solution," Pangaro concluded.

Rahim Huland El , also a Randolph parent , ended the public portion of the meeting expressing that his position is zero tolerance, that he thinks there is a "Laissez faire attitude" among some parents in town on drinking,  and he feels that administration needs to be more vigilant on security getting into the games.

Matos reintroduced the previously discussed idea of the school using breathalyzers before school events as well. He stated that this will be discussed again at future meetings.

Click here to view Policy 5530.

Click here for Al Matos FULL UPDATED STATEMENT

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Randolph

Morristown Happenings: Things to do in Morristown this Weekend

November 17, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  What are you thankful for? We at TAP are thankful for our readers! Thank you for reading! It is almost quitting time, so grab those coats and bundle up as you hit the town this weekend. Morristown has over 20 things to do! Looking for something outdoors? Don't forget about the trails and parks around Morristown. They are great for hikes, walks and bike ...

Millbrook Firehouse Hosts Randolph Boy Scout Troops For Emergency Service Night

November 19, 2017

RANDOLPH, NJ- Members of Randolph Township's emergency service units volunteered their time to present an evening of education to the Randolph Boy Scout troops.

Randolph fire Company No. 2, No. 4, and No. 5, along with the Randolph police department and rescue squad, put their vehicles and equipment on display in the parking lot of the Millbrook firehouse and held small group discussions ...

October Warrants and Arrests

November 19, 2017

Oct 4, Ryan M. Silva, 27, Wayne was stopped for a motor vehicle violation and subsequently arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.  Silva was processed and issued several motor vehicle summonses prior to being released.

Oct 6, Angelica J. Limate, 33, Budd Lake was stopped for a motor vehicle violation and subsequently arrested for driving while intoxicated.  ...

Route 10 Lanes Close for Nighttime Paving This Week

November 13, 2017

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Lane closures may slow traffic on Route 10 West this week as the highway gets a facelift between Parsippany and Roxbury. 

A nighttime paving and resurfacing project will begin Monday, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and continue through Friday to fix dilapidated portions of roadway, announced the state Department of Transportation on Monday. 

A single lane will close ...

Randolph Township Schools Observe Veteran's Day With Special Programs

November 15, 2017

RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph Township Schools paid tribute to American veterans with special assemblies, letters, flowers and songs this past week.

Veterans were asked to visit classrooms and share their experiences with students at several schools. At Randolph High School, students wrote letters and created special cards for veterans and active servicemen thanking them for their efforts to keep our ...

Assault at CCM

November 19, 2017

Arrested: Anthony Rodriguez Age 20 Wharton NJ On November 8, 2017, upon the request of CCM security, patrols responded to CCM for a report of an assault that had occurred earlier in the evening. Patrols met with security who advised an 18 year old male had been assaulted in the parking lot by an unknown male. This was not initially reported to security, which became aware of this incident when ...

Got an Eye for Nature? Local High School Students Invited to Enter Photography Contest

MORRISTOWN, NJ. - High School students in northern New Jersey are invited to participate in a photography competition titled, Focus on Nature. The competition, sponsored by the Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum "celebrates and promotes the creativity and artistic skills of all local high school students".

Students may submit their original photographs with a nature or plant ...

Randolph Area Chamber Luncheon Thursday, Talk About Your Own Business

Spotlight on YOU

The Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a General Luncheon Meeting on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 11:45 AM at LaStrada Restaurant located at 1105 Route 10 East in Randolph.

Each attendee will have the floor to introduce themselves and tell the audience about their business and answer any questions someone may have about it.

Members and guests are welcome to ...

Man Electrocuted at High Grade Beverage Tuesday

RANDOLPH, NJ- On November 13, 2017, patrols responded to High Grade Beverage, 86 Canfield Ave, for a report of a male who was electrocuted.  The victim, Sean King, 55 from Stanhope NJ was on a scissor lift and had been replacing an emergency light.  Initial reports indicated that there were still live wires on the victim. 

Upon patrols arrival, employees had already freed the ...

Atlantic Health System Holds Job Fairs For Veterans

Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care delivery system, today announced its most recent effort to assist the men and women of the United States military transition to civilian life, by holding two professional networking events on Friday, November 10, this year’s federal observance of Veterans Day.

Events will be held at two area shopping centers, Bridgewater ...