“I walk the halls every day. I see a lot of good kids doing a lot of good things. There is not a culture of violence.”
That’s Douglas Corbett, acting superintendent of Central Regional School District, speaking at a February school board meeting. Corbett replaced former superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides, who resigned after speaking publicly about Adrianna Kuch, a 14-year-old student at Central Regional High School who committed suicide after being viciously assaulted in the hallway by four students who suffered no consequences. (Parlapanides will receive a $127,676 pay-out because that’s how we roll.)
But Corbett is wrong, at least according to a report in the Asbury Park Press that confirms what students have been saying all along: according to police reports over the last decade, “the recent incidents — which range from threats to physical attacks to weapons offenses — show a school that is regularly contending contending with violence.”
The Department of Education’s database bears this out: among all New Jersey schools, 4% of students were suspended in school year 2018-2019. At Central Regional, 17.2% were. (The DOE still hasn’t updated its records beyond school year 2020-2021 but Parlapanides said 2021-2022 was “the worst in my career,” which spans 28 years.)
Since that February board meeting when Corbett denied a culture of violence, he wrote a letter to parents promising, “Middle School and High School staff and administrators are taking a fresh look at policies and procedures to assess what works, what doesn’t and what needs improvement…Enhanced training needs have been identified, and the district has added another anti-bullying specialist which brings the total to four.” He also said a new school safety specialist had been appointed, while the high school dean of discipline post may be expanded from part-time to full-time.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.