Parent Urges Branchburg School Board to Address Racial Abuse Incident at Middle School

The Branchburg School Board meeting addressed a serious incident of racial abuse at a local middle school, discussed policy updates, and elected board officers. A parent, Ms. Davis, spoke about her daughter, Shariah, experiencing racial verbal abuse from other students, calling for the board to take action and enforce discipline. The board proceeded with electing Vincent Carpentier as president and Terry Joyce as vice president. Additionally, donations from the Branchburg Rotary and the Megan Rose Bradley Foundation were acknowledged, and the board discussed the necessity for additional special education teachers in the upcoming year.

One notable issue raised during the Board of Education meeting was the report of a racial abuse incident at the middle school. Ms. Davis described her daughter being subjected to derogatory racial slurs, including being called a monkey, and demanded disciplinary action against the offenders. She criticized the district’s response and current practices, calling them ineffective, and requested that the board reinforce measures to prevent such incidents in the future. Ms. Davis insisted on forwarding the HIB (Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying) report to the New Jersey State Board of Education and scheduled a meeting with the superintendent, Dr. Karen Chase, to address the matter.

The meeting proceeded with the swearing-in of newly elected board members Vincent Carpentier, Robert Maider, and Charles Tuma. Vincent Carpentier was then nominated and elected as the president of the board, with Terry Joyce elected as vice president. The board also approved Kristen Fabriczi as a new member of the Somerville Board of Education.

Following officer elections, the board members recited the code of ethics.

In other meeting business, the board approved various administrative items, including official newspapers, depository of funds, and annual meeting dates. Superintendent Dr. Karen Chase delivered a report highlighting the smooth transition back to school after the winter break and welcomed the new acting interim principal, Christina Stefer. She expressed gratitude for donations that support students in need.

During the governance segment, the board approved minutes, revised the school district calendar, and reviewed a Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying investigative report. In policy discussions, professional staff attendance policies were reviewed, and the need for further conversation on other important policy updates was acknowledged.

The education committee highlighted the anticipated need for additional special education teachers, impacting future budget considerations. The business committee discussed financial constraints and facility maintenance, including a review of the upcoming Quality Assurance Continuum (QAC) walkthrough.

Public comments closed without additional statements, and the meeting concluded with a motion to adjourn.

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.

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