Jul 30, 2014
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Simon and Attorney Defend Against Tenure Charges at BOE Meeting

Suspended principal of Manalapan High School, Jeff Simon, and his lawyer took the opportunity to plead their case against the certified filed tenure charges at the last Board of Education meeting.

Simon and Attorney Defend Against Tenure Charges at BOE Meeting Simon and Attorney Defend Against Tenure Charges at BOE Meeting Simon and Attorney Defend Against Tenure Charges at BOE Meeting

Suspended Principal Jeff Simon and his attorney, Stuart Moskovitz, used the public participation portion of Monday's school board meeting to continued his attack on the  filed against him.

Simon said he would use the public portion of the Freehold Regional High School District Board meetings to have his voice heard about the “witch-hunt” against him, because “not a single one of any of the twelve counts is valid, truthful, substantiated with evidence, warranted, legitimate, or reason for tenure charges to be brought against me."

After the previous Board meeting, Simon’s 38-page statement of position and evidence, as well as the tenure charges and affidavits were provided to citizens who filed OPRA requests to the district.

The Freehold Regional High School District issued a and impugning the character of current employees of the district.  Simon told the Board that he sticks by Moskovitz’s .

The suspended principal, who will not be paid for 120 days by the district, read the state’s new Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Policy to the Board on Monday. While he said the HIB policy is only mandated for students, it states that administrators are role models and should demonstrate appropriate behavior and treat others with civility and respect, Simon said, which he felt was not evidenced at the last Board of Education meeting.

Simon also commented on the five of the twelve counts against him that involve fire drills. According to Simon, the district has not updated its fire drill and evacuation drill policies to meet state standards. Moskovitz later asked the Board what policies Simon violated since the current fire drill policies are outdated.

“The five fire drills in question were legal, safe, fully documented, reported to the district as required and not one time did anyone question me about them, but now they are grounds for tenure charges? How can that be?” Simon asked the Board.

Patch reached out to district Superintendent Charles Sampson who said he "would like to assure the public that all six of our schools are compliant with State Code requirements for conducting various emergency drills throughout the school year."

Additionally, Simon said that it appears that all seven counts beneath the second tenure charge claim that he had endangered the lives of students, which he said Sampson told the public was not true. During the , Sampson said that “none of these events have anything to do with the welfare of any children in the building.”

Simon questions the candor of Sampson's statement on January 9 since the second tenure charge states that “Jeff Simon has been engaged in a course of misconduct which did, in fact, or could have imperiled the health, safety and well-being of the thousands of students and employees entrusted to his supervision and care.”

When Moskovitz spoke during public comment, he brought up the charge involving missing money and the fact that the district did not conduct an investigation into the missing funds.

“You have distracted from justice by aiding Mr. Sampson and deliberately pointing the finger in the wrong direction,” Moskovitz told the Board. “If a crime has been committed, you might all be deemed accessories after the fact for deliberately misdirecting the investigation. You might want to think about that.”

Moskovitz went on to say that the Board did not investigate the woman and her son who had handled the money that went missing in Nov. 2009 from a football game and questioned why Simon is being implicated when he never touched the money. According to this woman’s affidavit, she does not recall how much money was collected but later recounted that $120 was missing the next day.

Moskovitz also commented on Simon’s secretary who, according to her affidavit, admitted to rifling through Simon’s desk drawers on two separate occasions looking for an envelope that held the money from a school event and then later commented that the amount of money she was provided and the amount of money written on the envelope she found the second time she rifled through Simon’s drawers did not match.

Moskovitz said that this woman should have been fired two years ago when Simon reported her to administration for opening a bank account in both her name and the name of Manalapan High School without authorization.

Board Attorney John Comegno commented that the Board has no further comment in response to matters regarding this investigation because it is currently in litigation and cautioned Moskovitz about potentially making defamatory statements.

Manalapan resident Maxine Selim told the Board she was “ashamed and appalled” and wanted to know why these issues, if they are true, are not being dealt with by the administration. She also questioned why the police was not immediately contacted when money was first discovered to be missing. “I just don’t understand why people are allowed to plan and plot,” Selim said. “It feels like a witch-hunt. It seems like it’s inappropriate and aren’t you accountable to us?”

Comegno said that the Board is accountable and has listened and deliberated on this issue. The charges have been certified and transmitted to the Commissioner of the Department of Education. If the Commissioner transmits those to the Office of Administrative Law, a judge will hear the case.

 

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