Perth Amboy Teachers, Students, and Parents Sound Off at School Board and Superintendent

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Yesterday the Perth Amboy Board of Education held its monthly public meeting. This event drew much media attention, but not the sort districts prize. Parents and students, as reported here, were originally barred from attending the meeting but, after more bad press and protests, as well as growing concerns about violence after a fifth-grader was stabbed and a continuing exodus of teachers, the Board relented. First let’s look at the news reports, then the results of a student survey, and then what parents and students told the Board and, in particular, Superintendent David Roman, currently the target of the hashtag #RomanResign. 

From ABC News:

“The superintendent of schools tried his tried his best to deflect from the stabbing that left of one of his students in the hospital last month. But parents weren’t buying it, and some thought the superintendent’s vision of Perth Amboy schools filled with safe, joyful students was not altogether accurate.”

From News 12:

“The participants displayed anger and frustration and called for change. They said that the district has failed them. Ana Abreu told News 12 that her 16-year-old son was attacked last year by three other students at Perth Amboy High School.”

From Fox News

“The Perth Amboy school board and its superintendent, Dr. David Roman, were in the hot seat during a board meeting Thursday night where parents were demanding changes after some violent incidents at the schools.”

Results of the Student Survey:


  • How safe do you feel in PA schools between 1-10? 5 
  • Do you agree with placing armed guards in schools? 58% said no 
  • Do you agree with metal detectors in PA schools? 75% said no 

Comments at the Board meeting:

On Violence:

“If I made a threat I would be escorted out and never let back in and probably  have a restraining order against me. You cannot let students make threats!”

Rev. Donna Stewart, President of Perth Amboy branch of the NAACP:  “Stop blaming the victims! There is a student code of conduct for the district, we worked on it for six years but has anyone read it? Who is the voice of accountability? Do you remember George Floyd? Tyrie Nicols? These are examples of over policing…. Do you see how many police were around TONIGHT???? We stood and marched in Black Live Matter  but metal detectors and  armed guards won’t solve bullying. Relationships are needed, not over-policing.”

“What about the bigger picture about violence, putting multiple incidents under the rug and canceling board meetings?”

“Students do not feel safe. They tell a guidance counselor about so and so bullying or why I do not feel safe, they just them they should study more. How does that make me feel safe?”

“We’re not here to beat you up; we need to find a solution. But closing the bathrooms? Is that helping, waiting in a line of 20 students to go to the bathroom, she has to hold it, who will pay the bill? Students are calling to get picked up to go to the bathroom…Who came up with this? We have to find a solution to the problem, but the good kids are suffering and getting pigeon-holed.”

“My son was threatened by a student with a knife. I came to school but was told that the threat was unsubstantiated.”

“A kid brings a knife to school and stabs someone, that’s a parent problem, we as parents need to do better.”

On Superintendent Roman: 

“Why do we never see Roman? Why can’t he go on Zoom and speak to us often and listen to us?”

“The way to lead is not deflect blame everywhere else and gaslight, all I hear is community, community, community, but it is your fault.”

“We are trusting you with the care of our children, you are in the hot seat, we are looking for you to do more than just write letters.”

“Roman promised to be the wind beneath my wings but he disappeared.”

“Students are being suspended for irrelevant things, suspended for protesting,  worried about uniforms, and you’re ignoring students with disabilities, Roman, you, sir, are the worst for our children.  I leave you with this:  if not now, then when?”

Shull School student who is a  member of the Superintendent’s Children’s Council:  “I am here to use the power that you gave me, listen to the students, You said to us, ‘I am the gang, be afraid of me.'”

“Dr. Roman speaks about how we should all look up to him and how well he are doing but you behave the opposite, coward, hiding, blaming everyone else, you will always reap what you sow.”

“Half of what goes on is never known or reported because Roman has staff so afraid.”

“Roman hangs out in his ivory tower, never comes out, he should resign. Let’s not let the Board of the hook; they do not respond to our emails and do not have a plan, The community has lost respect for Dr. Roman, he had such bravado while violence is everywhere. “

On Staff Morale:

“Shull [Middle School] security and Shull administrators are mean to the teachers.”

“No one leaves a job that is good.  If you are losing staff, you have to ask yourself why?”

“We are here now, but you do not want to hear us.”

“Have you asked the schools, principals, teachers and staff their opinion? No, you just do what you want. Are you in touch with the parents? I do not think we are being heard, I think you are acting like you’re listening and then you do whatever you want.”

Donna Tartza, 38 year-teacher, former union vice president:  “We need new leadership that will allow educators to enforce the code of conduct. Teachers cannot do their job without support. There needs to be consequences for students. I have met former employees that left  and are much happier elsewhere.”

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