The Perth Amboy Board of Education on March 9 held its first meeting since the stabbing of 11-year-old Smailyn Jimenez on Feb. 22 by a fellow Samuel E. Shull Middle School student and the subsequent community outcry about school safety.

In an op-ed posted by Perth Amboy Now on March 11, Perth Amboy Federation President Pat Paradiso wrote about a “raucous and uncomfortable” atmosphere during the March 9 meeting’s public session. Following the private executive session, she took notice of several members who “made, or read, flowery statements about how much they care about our students and our community.”

“The most prominent word in their statements seemed to be unity — as in we all need to be united for a common cause,” Paradiso noted. “We would love that. But their common cause is supporting a superintendent who has failed our students and staff, and approving safety measures that most students, parents and staff do not support.”

Paradiso does not anticipate PAF being among those involved in meetings about safety proposals, and she also doubts any such meetings will even take place.

“There will be no consensus-building or conversations about improving conditions in the district,” she wrote. “There will be edicts and more accountability for our already overwhelmed staff. There will more be deflection and gaslighting.

“This is where we work, and where families send their children to learn. This board needs to step up — or step aside.”

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