Bordentown Regional School District BOE Discusses Panic Button, Disciplinary Actions For Students

By Marisa Murphy
February 14, 2019 – 3:23pm

Bordentown, NJ – With several items on their agenda, the Bordentown Regional School District Board of Education met for a third time this year, most of their discussion taking place during the superintendent’s report. Superintendent Dr. Edward Forsthoffer discussed the recent use of their new phone notification program, “Navigate Prepared,” which the staff and faculty use to contact law enforcement in an emergency. Forsthoffer also discussed the plan of installing “panic buttons” in coordination with NJ State Law “Alyssa’s Law”, which will require all New Jersey public schools to install a silent panic button in the event of a heightened situation. The plan is still undergoing talk, and would need to be complete by September 1st of this year.

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After the discussion on the school’s safety using these programs, board member Jamie Augustyn brought up the growing issue of vaping on school grounds within the middle and high school.

“It’s bad,” Forsthoffer replied, “…over half of the high school population vapes.”

Most of the discussion examined the progressive use on school grounds and the concern that teachers and parents are unsure what their student or child are vaping- whether it is CBD oils, marijuana, other drugs, or the use of vape liquid with nicotine. Students who are found with a vape device on school premises are even subjected to drug testing following school consequences. The school district has an active campaign to educate Bordentown high school students on the negative effects of vaping and are pushing for this campaign into the middle school.

WBNC News questioned Forsthoffer during the public comments, asking if there are any additional disciplinary actions to students found with a device on school premises, as New Jersey Law prohibits citizens under the age of 21 from smoking (cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape devices, etc.) and the purchase of smoking devices.

In response, Forsthoffer tells WBNC News that they have counseling for students, as well as implementing student suspension and, in rare cases, the removal of the student from the school program. He also tells WBNC that the high school has coordinated a program with the local police, where students who are found with smoking or vaping devices on school premises are subjected to community service, often in the school, as agreed upon by the student’s parents and the police after school consequences. Police are rarely ever needed to make arrests, charges, or send students to juvenile detention as this was an agreement between the school and the local police; if the case the situation is more severe, police will become involved.

The next meeting for the Bordentown Regional School District Board of Education will take place on March 6th at 7pm in the high school library.

Marisa Murphy can be reached at mmurphy@wbncnews.com

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