Heroic Second Grader Recognized by Hackensack School Board for Life-Saving Action

In a recent Hackensack School Board meeting, a second-grader’s life-saving action took center stage as Juan Oro Mayans was honored for his heroic deed. The board also tackled a variety of other matters, including the superintendent’s report, policy discussions, funding approvals, and the importance of inclusivity and electronic communication for board meetings.

During the presentations section of the meeting, the board and attendees celebrated the quick thinking and bravery of Juan Oro Mayans, a second-grade student from Hiller School, who performed the Heimlich maneuver on his classmate, Martina, saving her from choking on a water bottle cap. Dr. SoDo, the principal of Hiller School, recounted the incident, which was followed by praise from the school psychologist, Mrs. Ruiz, who tied the act to the school’s “catching kindness” initiative. Adding to the commendations, the Hackensack Police Department presented Juan with a certificate and a Happy Meal, acknowledging his commendable response in a moment of crisis.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas McBryde, Jr. provided a comprehensive report following the recognition, detailing his observations from his listening and learning tour. He highlighted the district’s pride, collaboration, and commitment, while also addressing the need for consistent expectations. Dr. McBryde reported on student enrollment numbers, attendance rates, and residency verification cases. He concluded with a review of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) statistics, noting there were 10 cases with varying classifications.

A community member during the public comment section expressed support for the board’s work and pride in Juan’s actions. Teacher Colleen Dawson also addressed the board, sharing her appreciation for the chance to meet with Dr. McBryde to discuss school concerns.

The board moved forward with business, including the approval of minutes from previous meetings. Trustee Shivonnie Pringle abstained from the December 18th vote as she was not a member at that time. Following this, the student report spotlighted successes in Hackensack High School’s music, athletics, and academics. The board then approved personnel matters, an amendment to a sidebar agreement, and tabled a decision on the meal charge program policy until the next meeting.

Trustee Kenneth Martin delivered the curricular report, noting funding acceptances for youth service programs and the SLS family program grant. He also mentioned a partnership with Gender Spectrum for professional development training focused on gender-inclusive schools. Trustee Demetrius Carroll, during the finance report, led the approval of items including the distribution of community flyers and the purchase of a maintenance van.

Subsequently, in the buildings and grounds report, upgrades to the cafeteria and a vestibule project were sanctioned. Trustee Jennifer Harris updated on the community relations committee, setting the official joining date for new members as February 15th.

The board president underscored the importance of adherence to policy regarding board member participation through technology or electronic devices. Scott James-Vickery raised concerns about the time frame for arranging electronic communication for members unable to attend meetings in person. Lissette Cordero-Outen agreed to the need for clarity on this process and committed to discussing the matter with the IT department.

Board comments featured reflections on various topics. Jennifer Harris reiterated commendations for Juan Oro Mayans’s life-saving action. Trustees echoed these sentiments, with Kenneth Martin suggesting media outreach to highlight Juan’s bravery. Marlene Somerville spoke about the celebration of Al Bloom’s career, the upcoming National School Counseling Week, the significance of Muslim Heritage Month, and the necessity for inclusivity in the district.

The meeting concluded with discussions on providing translation services for Spanish-speaking families and sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired. Dr. Thomas McBryde, Jr. was acknowledged for his recognition at Morehouse College for his contributions to education and equity. Finally, Mark Stein motioned to adjourn the meeting, with Demetrius Carroll seconding, and the board approving the closure.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Dr. Thomas McBryde, Jr.
School Board Officials:
Scott James-Vickery, Lissette Cordero-Outen, Demetrius Carroll, Jennifer Harris, Kenneth Martin, Lancelot Powell, Shivonnie Pringle, Marlene Somerville, Mark Stein, Julio Bendezu, Lydia Singh (School Business Administrator/Board Secretary), Dr. Thomas McBryde, Jr. (Superintendent of Schools)

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