Actions are needed by the Perth Amboy BOE, not their take on unity- Opinion

Perth Amboy School Board Meeting

Letter to the Editor

By Pat Paradiso

At the March 9 board of education meeting for the Perth Amboy School District, parents, students and staff displayed their long-suppressed anger with Superintendent Dr. David Roman.

To those in attendance, it felt like a reckoning. It was raucous and uncomfortable, as parents and students, still reeling from the stabbing in February of an 11-year-old student by another 11-year-old student, demanded the superintendent’s resignation. 

After the public session, the board went into a private, executive session, and most of the audience departed. When the board returned, several members made, or read, flowery statements about how much they care about our students and our community.

The most prominent word in their statements seemed to be unity — as in we all need to be united for a common cause. We would love that. But their common cause is supporting a superintendent who has failed our students and staff, and approving safety measures that most students, parents and staff do not support. 

So, exactly who is uniting with whom? 

It seems that most of the board remains united with Superintendent Roman, while students, parents and the community remain united with staff. This is not our line in the sand; it is the line in the sand created by a superintendent who has never been held accountable for his failures.

Several parents requested meetings to discuss safety at the March 9 meeting. Students would also want to be included in these discussions. And as the sole bargaining unit representing staff in the Perth Amboy School District, the Perth Amboy Federation would need to be included in these meetings.

But there most likely will be no meetings. There will be no consensus-building or conversations about improving conditions in the district. There will be edicts and more accountability for our already overwhelmed staff. There will more be deflection and gaslighting.

This is where we work, and where families send their children to learn. This board needs to step up — or step aside.

Pat Paradiso is president of Perth Amboy Federation and a teacher at Perth Amboy High School.

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