The Asbury Park Board of Education will meet tonight in the hopes, one assumes, that this meeting will go better than the last one. There, parents and students shouted at Superintendent Rashawn Adams, “What’s wrong with you? You have nothing for us. This school has nothing for us!”
The agenda for the meeting was posted today. Here are a few highlights:
After a groundswell of outrage that Adams and his administrators had abandoned high school students in the Allied Health Program (they’ve been without a teacher since December 1st) the district is hiring a replacement, Dr. Anthony Rosania. Also,
Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, that the Board approves Asbury Park High School eligible 12th grade Allied Health Students, attend the Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS) Classroom Course at Jersey Shore Medical Center. This course is designed to provide attendees the ability to recognize several life-threatening emergencies, provide CPR, use an AED, and relieve choking in a safe, timely and effective manner. This certification is a course requirement for our Allied Health Students.
The district has also found six volunteers to “provide tutoring to the Asbury Park High School Allied Health Students.”
This is a big win for students and parents! On the other hand, students say they’re being told by Adams and high school principal Bridget O’Neill to not attend tonight’s board meeting.
Board members may get an earful anyway.
According to sources, on February 9th new Athletic Director Troy Bowers, who was hired to replace the extremely competent Mark Gerbino, was caught bullying students in the gym. A student was playing basketball and Bowers said, “go back to your little apartment” and “you can’t even make a foul shot.” The conversation then turned profane. In another incident Bowers told a young girl that he “makes more money than both her parents put together.”
That’s probably true: Bowers is making $125,000, plus generous benefits. Of course, state and district taxpayers are paying Gerbino $157,928 to, well, babysit O’Neill; that’s because Adams resents his popularity so demoted him to “administrator on special assignment.” For state and district taxpayers this comes out to $280,000 in order to have on payroll two Athletic Directors for a 1,400-student school district that is ranked of #645 out of NJ’s 648 school districts, No wonder cost per pupil is up again, according to new calculations, of $41,079 per student per year.
Asbury Park Education Association president John Napolitani put this on his Facebook page and inadvertently confirmed the story about Bowers. He writes,
A new supervisor harassed, bullied, and tried to intimidate a student the other day. I can assure you this: any staff that I represent in the school district would have already been suspended without even an investigation. This incident happened Thursday [Feb. 9th] and as of yesterday, this FAD was still here. It’s time for the City of Asbury Park to stand up and help the staff that are struggling to represent the students because what’s happening is truly a travesty and must be investigated.
Napolitani continues, “every day it’s something new and more dysfunctional in this district. I commend these students for having the guts to speak up when most staff in the system don’t, and that includes my retirees who have nothing to lose. But I can’t fault my staff members I represent for having fear of speaking up because of the retaliation that happens on a daily basis here in the Asbury Park School District. You try to defend people or even yourself, and it’s the ‘gestapo’ mentality that comes into play. But now is the time for the adults to follow the lead of these children and do what’s best for the students we educate, the community we represent and the careers we have chosen. Believe me, I have the documentation, grievances, arbitrations, and host of other proof that show the craziness happening in this district.”
In January the district school board followed procedure and swore to stand by the Code of Ethics which says, in part, “I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools that meet the individual needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex, or social standing.”
I don’t know what they’re thinking.