Public Statement made at 2-13-2017 Board of Education Meeting
By Superintendent of Schools Patrick Tierney
I would like to take a few moments to address the events which took place at the Boys’ Varsity basketball game versus Dover on Friday, January 27th.
Many accusations and comments have been made and it is my intention to clarify what many have heard and read.
First, let me be clear, racist and/or other malicious statements and conduct, of any kind, are neither condoned nor tolerated by the District or the Jefferson community.
This matter was brought to our district’s attention on Saturday morning and we immediately, began planning to address it. Initially, we intended to begin the investigation first thing on Monday morning, when the students and other District employees returned. Unfortunately, during the weekend, the matter played out on social media, including input from individuals with agendas that extend far beyond the realm of Dover and Jefferson in Morris County, New Jersey. This resulted in the district not being given the opportunity and ability to fully address the situation internally or between the two school districts as timely or quickly as we may have liked.
Our investigation has been concluded. We have found the following:
Based upon interviews by numerous adults present, it became clear that the adults did hear the students saying something; however, the chant was not able to be comprehended and/or the phrase was not known to the adults present at the game.
Moving forward, we have outlined a plan to prevent these types of incidents from reoccurring.
It was my and my Administration’s desire to meet with representatives of Dover, both Administration and student body, sooner rather than later, in order to resolve the incident and not inflame this situation.
It is unfortunate that this incident, which involved a few students, reflected poorly on the school, the district, and township. These individuals’ actions truly do not reflect the character or the belief system of our school district or our community. The students are remorseful, as am I, my Board and the entire community. In a letter of apology, our student said, regarding this incident, “Again, I'm sorry for offending anyone but it was not intended to be malicious or racist. I hope we can all learn from this and come together as neighbors.”
As stated earlier, we acknowledge the fact that inappropriate statements were made. We took the matter seriously, addressed the issue with our students and will move forward with the hopes that this will never happen again.
In conclusion, and from the words of President John F. Kennedy, If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
CONGRATULATIONS MR. SMITH!
Jefferson is the northernmost township in Morris County formed by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 11, 1804, from portions of Pequannock Township and Roxbury Township. The township was named after Thomas Jefferson, the President of the United States at the time the township was created.
The township has two large divisions, Milton and Lake Hopatcong. Each half has its own first-aid squad, fire department substation and set of elementary schools. Both sections of the township share a high school and middle school.
Jefferson Township has many natural and recreational facilities to offer including Lake Hopatcong (the largest lake in New Jersey), Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, and Camp Jefferson to name a few. Jefferson Township also offers many community activities including sports, scouts, library programs, concerts, picnics, as well as its yearly Jefferson Days celebration.
The Jefferson Township Public School District is committed to providing a quality education to all of our students, from kindergarten through grade 12. With approximately 3,000 students district wide, our seven schools promote the highest standards of academic excellence, as well as the highest social and ethical expectations within our learning community. Our district’s comprehensive K-12 curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they will require to be life-long learners, productive workers, and responsible and contributing citizens. At the Jefferson Township High School, our co-curricular programs offer a complete range of inter-scholastic athletics. We are consistently recognized by the NJSIAA for our sportsmanship. Students compete in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference as well as Morris County tournaments in athletics.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) exist in every school. Within the PLCs, teachers work together to improve instructional practices. The district continues to focus on tools for student assessment. These assessments enable teachers and students to identify strengths and areas needing additional work. Unit and semester assessments are designed to prepare students for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) administration.
The district has incorporated the Common Core Standards (CCS) in all curricular areas and professional development to assist our teachers is on-going.
All students are held to the highest standards for academic, social and ethical behavior. They are motivated to learn, self-assured, and confident individuals. Students are prepared to apply their skills and knowledge as productive citizens in an ever-changing world.
Members of the educational community are facilitators of learning who work cooperatively and support students. The educator differentiates instruction while encouraging inquiry-based learning, critical thinking skills, and community based activities. Instruction focuses on practical and technological problem solving applications.
A diverse curriculum provides opportunities which promote student learning. The curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary connections and a global perspective. Student assessments provide continuous feedback on achievement of benchmarks which align with learning outcomes, state, and national standards.
It is the expectation of this school district that all pupils achieve the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards at all grade levels.
The District will be hosting the third and final strategic planning session on December 12, at 7:00 PM at the Jefferson Township High School Media Center. All are welcome to attend.
More information on the Middle School website "JTMS Showcase"