Lawsuit against New Jersey School System for “Bizarre” Behavior of School Administrator Suggests that Attempts to cover-up school incidents can be Very Problematic

Fox News is reporting that a New Jersey school district settled a civil suit relating to alleged “bizarre” behavior of one of the system’s school administrators.  In the suit, Vice Principal Theresa Brown was alleged to have forced a group of Hispanic students to eat on the floor of the cafeteria for ten school days at Charles Sumner Elementary School in Camden, New Jersey after a student accidentally spilled water on the floor.  According to the Camden Courier Post Newspaper, the administrator first claimed that the students were told they must eat on the floor because the school did not have enough chairs in the cafeteria.

According to Fox News, a Hispanic teacher at the school was fired after he learned of the incident and encouraged the students to report the matter to the school district.  The teacher was paid more than $70,000 when he settled a civil action against the district.  

As in other fields where public trust is important, indications of a cover-up when complaints are levied against school officials can complicate situations that are already difficult.   Proper investigation and documentation of incidents can help to clarify what has and has not taken place when allegations of this type are made.  This can be even more critical when litigation relating to school safety incidents takes place.   

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.