School Board Meeting Highlights: Student Safety Data Sparks Concern, Instructional Assistant Hailed as Hero
The East Brunswick School Board meeting saw discussions on Superintendent Victor Valeski’s report, a presentation from Irwin School’s fourth-grade ambassadors, and the commendation of instructional assistant Roda Omar. However, the most noteworthy item of the meeting was Dr. Figaroa’s report on student safety, which detailed an increase in substance abuse related to vaping and a high number of harassment and bullying investigations.
Dr. Figaroa presented the Student Safety Data System report during the meeting, providing a detailed account of incidents that transpired during the 22-23 school year. The report indicated an increase in substance abuse incidents, primarily due to vaping. There were 71 reported incidents, an upward trend that raises concerns about student health and safety. Furthermore, the report indicated 193 investigations into harassment, intimidation, and bullying, highlighting an issue affecting both the social and emotional wellbeing of students.
The floor was opened for public comments, but no attendees stepped forward to voice their concerns or suggestions. Instead, the board proceeded to discuss the agenda and committee reports.
In a lighter segment of the meeting, the board acknowledged the heroism of instructional assistant Roda Omar. Omar was recognized for her quick response in a choking incident, a brave act that earned her a round of applause from the audience and praise from her colleagues. Described as a “superhero” and an example of adult responsibility, Omar’s actions served as a reminder of the vital role staff members play in maintaining a safe and supportive school environment.
Superintendent Victor Valeski’s report also featured prominently in the meeting. He highlighted various student accomplishments and announced upcoming school closures for winter recess. Valeski commended the resilience of the school community amidst global conflicts and emphasized the importance of unity and support.
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.
School Board Officials:
Laurie Lachs, Heather Guas, Vicki Becker, Mark Carangelo, Timothy Cummings, Mark Csizmar, Liwu Hong, Barbara Reiss, Jeffrey Winston