WAYNE, NJ - Governor Murphy has forced the cancellation of the Wayne Township Graduation ceremonies that were to be held on June 18 for Wayne Valley and June 19 for Wayne Hills as per a court-ordered injunction. A lawsuit entitled: Philip D. Murphy v. Christopher P. Vergano was filed in the Superior Court in Mercer County yesterday. And after a hearing held today, the Township of Wayne cannot assist in holding any type of graduation ceremony for Wayne's class of 2020.
For some, the move by Governor Murphy to stop these ceremonies does not come as a surprise. During one of his daily COVID-19 press briefings last week, Murphy mentioned Wayne Township specifically saying: “I know Wayne was looking to do a graduation ceremony next week. The good news is it appears to be organized in the way we want it; the bad news is we are not allowing them until July 6.”
Murphy's administration sued Asbury Park for passing an ordinance allowing indoor dining, which goes against the Governor's executive orders, and it was logical to think he would also step in to stop these graduations.
Mayor Chris Vergano knew that what the Township was planning was in defiance of Murphy's orders, but he would not be deterred. "Sometimes elected officials have to step up and do what's right for the community. This is one of those times."
"Throughout, our only goal was to assist the children of our community in having a meaningful celebration," said Vergano in a letter addressed to the town.. "This was never about me, as the Mayor, the Board of Education or the Governor. This was and still remains only about one thing…the Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills Classes of 2020. Unfortunately, the courts have ruled, and the celebrations will not take place this week.
"The Board of Education has scheduled a graduation ceremony for July 30th and hopefully by then the restrictions will be reduced enough to allow for a meaningful graduation ceremony where students, parents, teachers and administrators can celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our children," the letter continued. "Our school system has been and continues to be the light that draws people to move to Wayne Township and I truly believe that this will never change. Let us all come together to congratulate our graduates."