Friday afternoon, March 2, The Link News received information of an alleged incident involving two (2) Long Branch Public School employees and four students at the Gregory Elementary School.
The e-mail received had the following information: “Yesterday 4 boys under the age of 10 were bound and gagged by the school janitors in the bathroom at the Gregory School Long Branch ... Photos were taken by... the janitors ... Long Branch Police and the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office are investigating ...”
The Link News contacted the Long Branch Public Schools and received a written statement from Michael Salvatore, Superintendent of Schools. “Four students at the Gregory School reported an incident that occurred in the boys' bathroom involving two maintenance employees. After the reports and the review of our security cameras revealed the possibility that the incident took place, parents were notified, as well as, the proper authorities. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Long Branch Police Department and Institutional Abuse/DYFS are conducting an investigation regarding the allegations,” said Salvatore.
“The investigation is underway, and we will continue to support each party in their fact finding. Regardless of criminality, as the acts are claimed to be without malice and in jest; we have taken abrupt action as a safeguard to the children. Based upon the preliminary investigation from the district, the employees were sent home immediately, suspended with pay and were later summoned to the Long Branch Police Department for testimony,” added Salvatore.
Long Branch Public Schools have provided a timeline of the incident. According to the written statement, students reported the incident to their teacher at approximately 10:30 am. The teacher revealed the incident to the principal who conducted student interviews and reviewed the school security cameras. At approximately 12:30pm the principal began to contact the superintendent, parents, Long Branch Police Department and Institutional Abuse.
“It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure the safety and well-being of every child,” said Salvatore. “Any allegations involving reprehensible decisions and actions, regardless of intent, are intolerable and will not be accepted by the Long Branch Board of Education. Information pertaining to this incident should be directed to the Long Branch Police Department.”
Elford Rawls-Dill, Principal of the Gregory Elementary School, informed the entire staff of the school of the incident early Friday morning. Staff members were advised that if any other student(s) alleged similar incident occurred to contact the principal immediately, who would contact the LBPD.
Salvatore added in his statement that the security cameras are not authorized to be in bathrooms or locker-rooms under Board of Education policy. “The cameras only revealed that the students and staff were in the bathroom at the same time,” said Salvatore.
Long Branch Public Schools would not release the names or salaries of the accused staff members and they would only say the students were in the Gregory School, not identifying age or grade.
As of 9:55pm on Friday, March 02, 2012 neither the Long Branch Police nor the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office have arrested or charged the two accused staff members.