These New Jersey Parents Are Breaking Up With the Democratic Party–And It’s All About SchoolsApril 11, 2022
EL-MEKKI: We Have an Education Crisis in Our Hands and Curtailing the Charter Schools Program Is No Way to Fix ItApril 12, 2022
Over the past year NJ Education Report has followed the travails of Maria Lorenz, who has two sons with special needs in the Elizabeth Public Schools system. “I’m an educated Latina,” she says. “If Elizabeth Public Schools District is treating my boys so poorly, flagrantly disregarding the rules that govern IEP’s (Individualized Education Plans, which set forth annual goals, services, and benchmarks for students with disabilities), imagine what they’re doing to the rest of the Hispanic population?”
Our latest NJER TV episode features Lorenz, who is currently fighting for the most basic of rights: Daniel, her younger son, is on the autism spectrum and has multiple medical problems, including severe asthma. His developmental disabilities preclude him from self-administering his epi-pen, an auto-injectable device that delivers the drug epinephrine, when he’s on the schoolbus. But Elizabeth superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer and the local school board insist that Daniel can only have an epi-pen on the bus if he can inject himself with the life-saving drug. Lorenz has appeared at one school board meeting after another, pleading with district to keep Daniel safe and comply with the law.
She’s still waiting. For more on Lorenz’s advocacy see here.
Those who follow Elizabeth school board politics may be aware of the connections between the city’s corruption and political operative Sean Caddle, who recently pleaded guilty of hiring hitmen to murder his colleague Michael Galdieri. Matt Friedman of Politico reports that the general co-counsel for the Elizabeth Board of Education, Jonathan Williams, “raised money for a dark money group that then channeled the money into a super PAC that helped elect — you guessed it — members of the Elizabeth Board of Education. The emails show he delivered the checks to Caddle’s underlings.” Friedman quotes former NJ Senator Ray Lesniak, an Elizabeth heavyweight: “That’s what politics is all about. There’s no way to deny that. This isn’t an unusual occurrence. This has happened every day for centuries.”
If only children like Daniel weren’t collateral damage.