Ruling Against Toms River Schools Is Refuted [AUDIO]
A former Toms River Regional School District Attorney questions a recent decision by the State Civil Rights Division Director that sides with a ruling that said the district failed to protect a student from bullying because of his perceived sexual orientation.
Former School Board Attorney Thomas Monahan says he's surprised by Craig Sashihara's decision because in the late 1990's there was no specific policy from the Department of Education dealing with student on student harassment.
"Dr. Gagliardi, who was our expert in court, was the Commissioner of Education at the time and testified that Toms River, their policies exceeded the state's policies that were in existence at that time."
Monahan goes on to say, "The Commissioner had a right to review the testimony that was presented. He chose to ignore the Commissioner of Education at the time. Why he chose to do that? I don't know."
Monahan describes a system that Toms River Intermediate North Administrators put in place that incorporated progressive discipline which added penalties against repeat offenders.
"In addition, the young man had a safety plan which allowed him at any time of the day to get out of his classroom, walk immediately down to the Principals office, to address something that occurred so that the Principal could handle it immediately."
Monahan said during 8th Grade graduation, even the mother of the student, known as L.W. , thanked the Principal for doing all he did to protect her son before turning around and filing the complaint to the Division on Civil Rights. He says he's still hoping to learn the reason why she filed the motion?
There's no word on whether the school district will appeal the ruling. Monahan says that decision rest with the Board of Education. He says Sashihara's decision is not final. The next step would go to the Appellate Division of Superior Court.
Monahan says, "The question here is? Did the school district violate a standard of care that existed in 1999? I say it did not."