Education

Roxbury Principal: Back To School Night Boycott Not My Idea

9abc6f6119d12f41f994_swanson.jpg
Roxbury High School Principal Jeffrey Swanson Credits: Roxbury High School
9abc6f6119d12f41f994_swanson.jpg

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury High School Principal Jeffrey Swanson said he did not encourage teachers to boycott Back to School Night this week, rebutting an assertion made by a teachers’ union representative.

On Wednesday, Swanson used the school district’s “Honeywell” parental alert system to announce he was postponing the Thursday evening Back to School Night. He told parents he did so after learning that many teachers were planning to not show up.

The teachers are locked in a contract dispute with the Roxbury Board of Education. 

Sign Up for E-News

In an interview Wednesday night, John Williams, a field representative for the teachers’ union, said Swanson, also working under an expired contract, had suggested teachers might boycott Back to School night as a show of solidarity.

But in a Friday letter to TAP into Roxbury, Swanson forcefully denied doing this.

“At no time did I address the staff at the high school and cajole, encourage, request or demand that they not attend Back to School Night,” he wrote. “Does Mr. Williams (or for that matter, do you) think that I have such control over the staff at the high school that I could command them to take an action that was contrary to their own association's position, and that they would comply? It would be interesting to possess that power, but let me assure you that I do not.”

Contacted Friday, Williams stood by his assertion. He said the principal, at a faculty meeting, “brought this topic up (boycotting Back to School Night) in the context of a comment in relation to contract negotiations.”

Williams, who was not at the meeting, said his information came from a teacher who was there. Williams said he spoke with the teacher again on Friday and was assured he had his story right. Williams would not reveal the name of the teacher or provide contact information.

"Regardless of what the teachers said they were/are going to do; such as to attend Back to School Night or not, it is the administration that makes the decision to cancel or postpone the event ... Staff does not make those decisions," Williams wrote in an email. "It remains the position of the REA that members attend back to school nights, as evidenced by the first (one) at Nixon School."

In his letter, Swanson went on to assert that Williams “was doing damage control for his unit by casting aspersions” and insisted he - upon learning most of his staff planned to stay home and not go to Back to School night - “had no choice but to postpone it with the hope that a speedy resolution of the contract dispute would allow me to reschedule the program for later in the month.”

Such a resolution is not likely to happen this month. A Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) factfinder is scheduled to conduct a hearing on the Roxbury situation Oct. 6. A non-binding recommendation will be written by the factfinder.

The principal went on to say he is not at odds with the Roxbury Education Association (REA) teachers’ union.

“If I had been asked, I would have told you that I am sympathetic to the REA's contract situation, for a number of reasons,” said Swanson. “First and foremost, unresolved contract negotiations inevitably impact the morale of the staff, and ultimately the climate of the school. There is a palpable difference in the way that the school operates in these circumstances. When this occurs, eventually it is the students who are impacted. That is unacceptable.”

He also said he understands why the staff would not want to show up for Back to School Night and that he feels “a degree of kinship with the staff” because he and his fellow administrators are “in a similar situation.”

The administrators are also working under an expired contract.

Swanson, in his letter, suggested administrators tend to take a higher road than the one chosen by teachers during contract disputes. “In the past, when contractual disputes have occurred, the administrators have been the ones to step up to minimize the impact on students,” said Swanson. “Will this be the expectation once again?”

Williams took issue with that characterization. “He’s entitled to his opinion,” he said. “But I think it’s actually the teachers who’ve minimized the impact on students.There are hundreds of classroom teachers. There are a handful of administrators.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Roxbury

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e4687cd17f13a365e8a6_804d330f39c903a84d3e_rhs_fish_and_chips_dinner_flyer_2018

Fri, February 23, 4:00 PM

Eisenhower Middle School, Succasunna

Gaelvision’s Fish & Chips Dinner

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_4af6f3c12e40b4ea6bbc_argyle

Fri, February 23, 4:30 PM

Roxbury Fire Co. #1 Firehouse, Succasunna

Argyle Fish & Chips Dinner

Food & Drink Giving Back

Tue, February 27, 11:00 AM

Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna

Roxbury Area Preschool Fair

Education

Carousel_image_7c7e68a9a5cc694ad0ab_63d680b63901e13831fa_fay

Thu, March 1, 6:30 PM

Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna

Celtic Harp Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Sponsors of Roxbury's Best Journalism

Getting it Right From the Start; Roxbury Realtor Bob Idakaar

ROXBURY, NJ – Twenty years ago this month, Bob Idakaar experienced an unprofessional real estate agent. That’s when he decided to be a good one.

Idakaar, a lifelong Succasunna resident and TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, bought his fifth home in July 1997. A big event, one that could have been joyous, ended up being stressful and unenjoyable.

“I had a bad experience,” he ...

Roxbury Diner: Homespun Hospitality Through Thick and Thin

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury was being buried in snow March 14 and most businesses were closed. Not Roxbury Diner.

Roxbury Diner isn’t like most businesses.For co-owner Jimmy Dontas, a snowstorm – even a blizzard – isn’t a reason to suspend operations. Instead, it’s a call to action.

To many in town, Roxbury Diner – a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor – is ...

It Began With Filling Your Tank; Now They Fix Your Grandson’s Car

When we drive east on Route 10 through Roxbury, many of us might remember a Shell station at the Randolph border next to the golf range. It was in that station that Nancy and Peyton Knight began their long history of auto repair in the township.

That was 1983 and soon the Knights’ business grew and expanded. The humble gas station gradually morphed into a state-of-the-art ...

Orthopedic Urgent Care in Roxbury - Open Late and on Weekends

ROXBURY, NJ – It’s a pleasant Sunday morning, you’re playing volleyball in the back yard with the kids and – forgetting you’re not 17 anymore – you jump up to smack that ball.

Instead of feeling the satisfaction of an unanswered spike, you feel the stinging pain of a wounded ankle.

The only good thing about this scenario is that you live in Roxbury. That ...

Love of His Hometown Drives Roxbury Realtor Ted Miller II

ROXBURY, N.J. – Most local real estate agents can tell you what houses are for sale in Roxbury. Ted Miller can probably tell you what was there before the houses were built. 

Miller, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, grew up in the township and has watched it change from bucolic to bustling. The son of a local Realtor, ...

Three Sons at His Side, John Klein Makes Plumbing a Family Affair

ROXBURY, N.J. - Running water and a warm house during winter months are some of the most important amenities we enjoy -- and often take for granted -- in our homes.

With John Klein Plumbing & Heating, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, residents of Roxbury (and beyond) have a father-and-sons company they count on for reliable plumbing and heating services to keep the ...

Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

Roxbury Library Blood Drive Will Help 111 People

January 31, 2018

Dear Editor,

On Jan. 17, the Roxbury Public Library held its first American Red Cross blood drive. Despite snow and less than ideal driving conditions, dozens of area residents showed up to donate blood, nearly doubling the Red Cross' quota for the day! 

The drive was held in honor of local resident, Matt Adonis. Having a blood rive in his honor was a lovely way to bring awareness ...

Three from Roxbury Area Make James Madison Dean's List

February 19, 2018

HARRISONBURG, VA -- James Madison University is pleased to announce the following students made the dean's list for the fall 2017 semester:

Jordan Israel Taylor of Flanders .

Nicolette Thorkildsen of Flanders .

Olivia J Viparina of Ledgewood .

Students who earn dean's list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of between 3.5 and 3.899.

Totaro Makes Hofstra Dean's List

HEMPSTEAD, NY -- Julia Totaro of Mt. Arlington excelled during the Fall 2017 semester, achieving a GPA of at least 3.5 to earn a spot on the Hofstra University Dean's List.

Roxbury Area Students Named to the Marist College Dean's List

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- The following local students have been named to the Marist College Dean's List for the Fall 2017 semester:

Mariah Christian of Flanders is a member of the Class of 2018 and is majoring in Communication.

Jenna Ficula of Flanders is a member of the Class of 2019 and is majoring in Computer Science.

Erika Hofgesang of Kenvil, is a member of the Class of ...

Roxbury Area Students Make Clemson Lists

CLEMSON, SC - Kristin Elizabeth Agosta of Flanders has been named to the President's List at Clemson University for the fall 2017 semester and three other area students were named to the Dean's List.

Agosta is majoring in Accounting.

To be named to the President's List, a student must achieve a 4.0 (all As) grade-point average.

The three Roxbury ...

Roxbury Area Students Make Seton Hall Dean's List

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Nineteen Seton Hall University students from the Roxbury area qualified for the Fall 2017 dean's list, according to the university. The students are:

Siddharth Bector of Flanders 

Nicholas Czipo of Wharton 

Gabriella DePiano of Ledgewood

Darrelle Dilangalen of Succasunna

Katherine Dolan of Flanders 

Kimberly Gong of Kenvil

Edward Guenzel ...

Roxbury's Sarah Derrick Makes Susquehanna Dean's List

SELINSGROVE, PA - Sarah Derrick of Roxbury was named to Susquehanna University's dean's list for the Fall 2017 semester.

The dean's list recognizes students who achieve a grade point average of 3.4 or higher out of a possible 4.0 for the semester. To qualify, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours.

Derrick, a business administration major, is a 2014 ...

Press Releases

Assistance Programs Available for JCP&L Customers to Help with Winter Heating Bills

February 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN,NJ - As the cold weather continues, financial assistance programs are available for Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) customers who need help with winter heating bills.

Assistance to qualifying JCP&L customers is available through the Lifeline, Universal Service Fund (USF), Weatherization, Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) and New Jersey SHARES ...

TAPinto.net Named Partner of the Year by NJ News Commons

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -  TAPinto.net has been named Partner of the Year by NJ News Commons, a network of more than 230 news organizations across New Jersey.  The award goes to a journalist or news organization that showed overall excellence in their work for 2017.    

Joe Amditis, Associate Director of the Center for Cooperative Media, said TAPinto won the award ...