Voorhees School Board Addresses Student Safety and Inclusivity

The Voorhees School Board convened to address issues of student safety, inclusivity, and financial allocations, emphasizing the need for a safe and respectful learning environment.

The most pressing topic of the meeting was the presentation on student safety, which reported a total of 12 incidents for the first reporting period of the 2023-2024 school year, primarily at Voorhees Middle School. These incidents included harassment, intimidation, and bullying investigations, as well as other incidents that led to suspensions. The presentation underscored the significance of the district’s harassment, intimidation, and bullying trainings conducted at the start of the school year, aimed to foster a secure and supportive atmosphere for both students and staff.

In connection to student well-being, the board engaged in discussions about the high impact tutoring grant. The grant, originally intended for use during the school year, faced delays due to the request for proposal process. Consequently, the board decided to reallocate the grant exclusively for a summer program. The intention was to enhance its effectiveness rather than introducing tutors late in the academic year. A member of the board expressed appreciation for the superintendent’s efforts in addressing community concerns related to the tutoring program.

Recognition was given to the recent installation of communication boards at Township playgrounds and in police cars. These boards are designed to assist nonverbal students in communicating.

Public participation was a notable aspect of the meeting, with a parent advocating for additional funding for the drama department. The parent compared the financial support received by the drama department with that of the sports teams, implying an imbalance in the allocation of funds. Additionally, a community member raised issues of inclusivity, referencing a tragic event in another state and calling for the protection of all students, including those who are trans, non-binary, and two-spirit. In response to these concerns, a board member acknowledged the necessity of ensuring the well-being of all students.

During the meeting, the board approved various items under policy, curriculum, personnel, transportation, and buildings and grounds. The board also discussed plans for a parent virtual workshop on inclusion, furthering the dialogue on creating an inclusive environment for all students.

The board secretary updated the board on the budget timeline, the state aid figures, and the preliminary budget adoption slated for March 13th. The personal relative financial disclosure statement was also mentioned, with a due date of April 30th. Additionally, an update on the preschool building progress was provided.

At the commencement of the meeting, a new board member was sworn in, expanding the board’s composition. The board was also given a preview of the musical “13,” which is set to be performed by the Voorhees Middle School drama club.

The meeting concluded with audience participation, where community members were given the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns, and with a motion to adjourn the meeting.

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.
Neely Hackett
School Board Officials:
Monica Watson, Julie Ketover, Richard Rosen, Jacob Rosner, Maureen Rutter, Jennifer Stewart, Randi Stoopler, Julienne Verdi

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