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UPDATE: Two Long Branch School District Employees Suspended After Incident With Young Students

Four students were reportedly bound and gagged in Gregory Elementary School bathroom

 

Two Gregory Elementary School maintenance employees have been suspended and are being investigated after an "incident" with four young students on Thursday morning, March 1.

According to a statement from Long Branch Superintendent of Schools Michael Salvatore, the incident occurred in the boys' bathroom, but details of what occurred were not released by the school. The names of the students, their ages and the names and salaries of the two employees have not been released.

However, The Link News reported on its Facebook page that it had received an e-mail from a parent stating the following:

“Yesterday (March 1) 4 boys under the age of 10 were bound and gagged by the school janitors in the bathroom at the Gregory School Long Branch ... Photos were taken by the janitors ... Long Branch Police and the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office are investigating ...”

Salvatore's e-mail  states that "after the reports and the review of our security cameras revealed the possibility that the incident took place, parents were notified, as well as, the proper authorities."

He said cameras are not allowed in bathrooms or locker rooms, but that footage from other school cameras "revealed that the students and staff were in the bathroom at that time."

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Long Branch Police Department and Institutional Abuse/DYFS are conducting an investigation regarding the allegations, according to Salvatore.

Monmouth County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Richard Incremona no criminal charges had been filed as of Saturday afternoon.

"There was an allegation about children and staff members," Incremona said. "We were contacted by the Long Branch Police and we are investigating."

Salvatore said the employees were sent home immediately after the incident was reported, suspended with pay and summoned to the Long Branch Police Department for testimony.

"Regardless of criminality, as the acts are claimed to be without malice and in jest; we have taken abrupt action as a safeguard to the children," Salvatore said in his statement. "It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure the safety and well-being of every child."

"Any allegations involving reprehensible decisions and actions, regardless of intent, are intolerable and will not be accepted by the Long Branch Board of Education," Salvatore continued

The timeline of the incident is still under investigation, but Gregory Elementary School Principal Elford Rawls-Dill informed the parents, Salvatore, the Long Branch Police and Institutional Abuse shortly after the incident occurred, according to Salvatore's statement.

Rawls-Dill reportedly conducted student interviews and reviewed the school security cameras before reaching out the parents, Salvatore and authorities.

The Gregory School staff was informed of the incident on Friday morning, March 2.

"(Staff members) were told that if they hear students speaking of incidents similar to this to notify the principal immediately, who will then contact the Long Branch Police Department who is conducting the investigation," Salvatore said.

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) released a statement about the incident on Monday morning:

“Parents send their children to school with the peace of mind that it is a place of safety and security. All of the employees of a school are entrusted with lives of our children, from the principal to the janitors. A story like this sends a chill through all of our spines. The parties involved must be held accountable and the investigation needs to be expedient and thorough. While the maintenance workers claim it was a harmless prank, in today’s day an age this type of behavior is dangerous and simply unacceptable."

Senator Beck continued, “I know the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will do everything necessary to ensure that justice is mete. There will be many questions that demand answers as this case unravels, and the public deserves that much. All employees need to be thoroughly vetted to ensure the safety of our students. I pray that an incident like this never happens again, but we must all work together to protect our students in the future and guarantee that his situation is a horrible anomaly.”

Salvatore said any information about the incident should be directed to the Long Branch Police Department.

MYESHA MEEKINS March 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM
SADLY I MUST SAY OUR KIDS AREN'T SAFE ANYWHERE, WHAT A TROUBLED WORLD WE LIVE IN I JUST HOPE THAT THESE INDIVIDUALS DIDN'T HAVE A PAST RECORD OF CRIME CAUSE IF SO THEY HAD NO BUSINESS WORKING AROUND CHILDREN FROM JUMP STREET.
Jim Smith March 04, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Part of what is going on is that we hear about things a lot more than we used to.
chris mazza March 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Man o Man I hope this isn't true
a jacob March 05, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Why weren't the parents of kids that attend this school notified? I heard it through the news? A letter should of gone home stating that this had happened and there was a full investigation going on.
Isadora Silva March 05, 2012 at 02:13 AM
This is so sad ! My cousins go to that school , now I think about this every morning before they go ! -___- I really hope those guys didn't do that stuff cuz if they did they better have life sentance
Michael Vamvas March 05, 2012 at 04:37 AM
What everyone needs to understand is that we do not know the truth as we were NOT present at the time of the incident. So, before we begin to set blame or gain concern let us just make sure our children understand the meaning of being safe and reporting any foul play. Im sure the authorities, Michael Salvatore, and other school officials will find out the truth!
Debbie clayton March 05, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I think the state needs to come in and take over that district. They seem to be in the news alot.
G. Haley March 05, 2012 at 12:01 PM
my questions: why were the janitors suspended WITH PAY ??????? Does anyone punish thier children & then give them a present for being bad. What kind of a punishment is giving an adult time off from work, & thenPAYING THEM FOR IT?
julie March 05, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Does Long Branch have a regular staff or is it "Privitzed" like some other districts?
Jessica Johnston March 05, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I really hope the school informs us when these individuals are terminated. I am not going to be comfortable sending my kids to this school as long as people like this are employed there. Joke or not, it wasn't funny. And people with that poor judgement should not be employed in a place where I tell my kids they are always safe.
Jill March 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Those kids will never be the same. Horrifying that adults would do this to under 10 year olds.
a jacob March 05, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Totally agree. We need new administration here. To say this could of been a Prank??? Not on kids sorry!!
Whatsittoya March 05, 2012 at 07:53 PM
G. Haley, it is hard not to be outraged by this story and I was thinking the same thing. I could only surmise that procedurally maybe you cannot suspend w/o pay until an investigation is complete. In any event, the goose for these janitors is cooked. However this plays out, they'll never work in schools again. They might just as well move away now for fear of a lynch mob.
Anonymous March 05, 2012 at 08:19 PM
The poor judgement now lies with the schoold officials! How they could not be horrified and outraged by this is possibly the scariest part of all. There should not be anyone anywhere near a school that could ever do anything like this and there should definatley not be anyone running a school who thinks that this could possibly be a joke!
Anonymous March 05, 2012 at 08:21 PM
There is never any reason why this should be done to a child!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous March 05, 2012 at 08:26 PM
They should have been arrested!. How could this not be considered assault, or holding someone against their will!
Catherine March 06, 2012 at 12:57 PM
This is a shame that our tax dollars will continue to pay someone for causing harm to our children, if this was a parent doing this DYFS wil step in and remove the children from the home and the parents will be charge for endangering the welfare of a child. Oh it is just a joke how do those children feel after the joke. Parents please continue to stand and fight like never before that these people will never be able to work around children again, because if they did it once and got away with it they will end up doing it again. Did anyone speak to these children and see how they feel, my heart goes out to them not the janitor. Charge them, fire them ahd no pay for the suspension, remember it is our tax dollars. Governament needs to step in.
Jacklyn Corley (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Comments that speculated on the names of the janitors have been removed. Please allow the legal system to take its course. If and when the individuals are charged, their names will be made publicly available.
anon March 07, 2012 at 09:21 PM
its ok.i will post them on another site that actually cares about the kids then!!! this story is shameful and so are you guys for taking the names down.parents should know.wouldnt you want to know? are you a mother.do you know what it would be like to wonder..probably not!!

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