Ocean Township High School Has a Database That Tells Staff Whether Parents Should Be Informed of Student Gender IdentityOctober 21, 2022
Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses Condemn Murphy’s Plan to Eliminate School-Based Youth Services ProgramsOctober 21, 2022
Gov. Phil Murphy is the target of much criticism for his what these legislators in the press release below call an “absurd proposal” to eliminate funding for school-based mental health support programs and replace them with what Politico calls a “not-yet-up-and-running model many doubt will provide the same quality and immediacy of services.” This new “hub,” which some tie to Murphy’s presidential ambitions, would be run by the state Department of Children and Families. (Politico formally requested the contract with DCF, which the state is required to immediately produce but has yet to deliver.) “It’s being done in such a way that feels incredibly disingenuous from a public standpoint,” Julie Borst, an education advocate and executive director of Save Our Schools NJ, said of the administration’s rollout of the NJ4S proposal.
From today’s NJ Spotlight: “’I think the biggest problem is the speed and almost nonchalantness of the announcement and the implementation of this program,’ Joe Johnson, who serves as policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.” The ACLU has filed a complaint, along with other organizations throughout the state including Disability Rights New Jersey, the Education Law Center, the NAACP of Newark, Save Our Schools NJ, and the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists.
Here is the press release:
Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (Monmouth – R’s) strongly condemn an absurd proposal by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Administration and Department of Children & Families Commissioner which seeks to close supplemental mental health and educational programs offered through School Based Youth Service (SBYS) programs across the State.
The closure news comes as the Murphy Administration has announced that it will attempt to replace already successful SBYS services with untried, complicated program “hubs” with limited details being made public as to how they will be implemented or types of services that will be offered:
“In what world does it make sense to close school-based mental health services for children at the height of a mental health crisis? The audacity and lack of touch with reality of this administration never ceases to amaze me. That they would abruptly end programs that have been operating for over 30 years, successfully I might add, to implement a new program based on some of the most rushed and flawed research we’ve seen by July is baffling,” Senator O’Scanlon affirmed. “These proposals show an extreme lack of empathy for what students truly want. As well as a severe shortsightedness by the Department of Children & Families and the Governor who tried this 2 years ago – we are not going to stand by and watch as programs in our schools like Red Bank Regional High School and Keansburg are shuttered. We are asking members across the aisle join us in calling for this to stop immediately.”
“It is evidently clear from the recent committee hearing that the Department of Children & Families is blatantly neglecting to uphold its obligation to ensure students, who are most in need, will continue to receive the services they are unquestionably entitled to,” Assemblywoman Flynn stated. “These DCF proposals are adverse to the current trends in support services offered at the federal level and in other states. The DCF Commissioner failed to offer any empirical evidence that would suggest new programs could be effective nor demonstrate any information as to how these new programs would offer services. To make matters worse the pleas of educators, service providers, and parents have been ignored, enraging families across the State – you would think that after all this time the administration would learn not to anger the parents of New Jersey.”
“The ignorance of this administration to put the future of our struggling students at risk all for the sake of political pageantry is abhorrent. Outraged is not a strong enough word to encompass the feelings of parents and providers who have been pushed aside and excluded from the conversation when they are the ones who have the firsthand, real knowledge of what our students need,” said Assemblyman Scharfenberger. “We have had concerned parents contacting us almost daily, asking for our help so that their children have a chance to keep the services that have been helping them for years. We demand that DCF halt any plans to close SBYS programs immediately and instead, look to expand services through incorporating best practice models of current programs already operating.”
The 13th District Legislators are asking parents, educators, and providers to help keep the pressure on the Governor’s Administration to ensure these programs are maintained to aid students across New Jersey.