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Parents Criticize School District Communication After Bathroom Incident

Superintendent says changes will be made as a result of Thursday's incident

 

Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore spoke during Tuesday night's PTA meeting to discuss the .

Two maintenance workers allegedly tied up and gagged four Gregory School students on Thursday morning in a bathroom, according to a letter from a parent. The two employees were suspended with pay on Thursday after school officials learned of the incident.

The names of the students and the employees have not been released.

"We have been doing our best to conceal the identities of the students and the employees," Salvatore said.

Salvatore said the students came forward and reported what happened to their teacher, but that the timeline as to how long they were in the bathroom is still under investigation.

Ever since the incident occurred, parents have been clamoring for information, saying that they do not have all the facts.

Salvatore said he still could not give specific details of what happened with the public, because the Long Branch Police and Monmouth County Prosecutor are still investigating.

However, at Tuesday's meeting, Salvatore did say there have been no allegations of sexual abuse.

A huge crowd gathered on in the Gregory School auditorium to voice their displeasure with the incident and the school's immediate response.

Many parents said they were upset they were not notified of the incident sooner. Several said they found out about it through the media or through word of mouth over the weekend or even Monday morning.

Salvatore said he would "do things differently in the future" when it comes to getting information out more quickly to all parents.

One parent of a 4-year-old child said after hearing what happened, her daughter is "terrified to go to the bathroom," and asked what the school would do to make children and parents feel safe.

Salvatore said the school has plans to change its procedures when work is being done in a bathroom or classroom.

"The bathroom should have been closed," Salvatore said. "In the future the door will be locked and marked with someone standing outside it."

He said the office will also e-mail all the staff to let them know when work is being done.

He said there will also be assemblies held for all students, not just Gregory School students, to educate them about not interacting with strangers and other safety procedures.

Other parents asked why the employees were suspended with pay and not fired.

"Nobody should be putting their hands on students," the parent said.

"The district has limitations," Salvatore said. "Regulations say we must suspend the employees with pay until they are found guilty."

Salvatore said if any incident is determined to be a criminal act, it would be his recommendation to terminate the employee.

He said the Long Branch Board of Education would have to take action if the employees were terminated.

Christina Warren March 08, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I have tried to contact the author of this article and it keeps coming back, undeliverable. I just wanted to express my disappointment in the Patch that you have kept the posting of ANON on here. It is malicious and cruel. They will face the firing squad soon enough, but if your going to posts names, post your own, so the police know who to come to when something happens to either of them. Let the Authorities handle it.
Christopher Sheldon March 08, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Christina, my e-mail address is christopher.sheldon@patch.com if you have any questions. Those comments made by that user were deleted and should no longer be posted on this site.
Christopher Sheldon March 09, 2012 at 12:04 AM
As was stated yesterday.......comments that speculated on the names of the janitors will be removed. Please allow the legal system to take its course. If and when the individuals are charged, their names will be made publicly available
justice March 09, 2012 at 12:11 AM
just sad.it really is..ive posted the names on several sites and informing people.ill keep doing it everywhere i can,people should know we have that right.its America FREEDOM OF SPEECH RIGHT??? because last time i checked thats one of out freedoms.
Christopher Sheldon March 09, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Commenting on this article has been turned off after multiple attempts by users to publicize the names of the employees in this article. Again, please allow the legal system to take its course. If and when the individuals are charged, their names will be made publicly available.

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