Dear Secretary Kennedy, Jr.,
I am an Elizabeth resident and alumnus. I initially submitted an open records request with the Elizabeth Public school system on Opramachine.com, only for my inquiries to be summarily denied on August 10, 2020. I do not agree with the reasons presented for denying me access to the documents I previously requested. I am again submitting a revised request for the same reason I sent the first one: my fellow students, our parents, and our communities need to have access to information about the police in our schools, how they operate, and what resources they cost the district. With nationwide police misconduct and brutality so highly publicized in the last few months, we deserve now more than ever to understand the circumstances behind police being in our schools.
Thus, pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., I am requesting:
Current Elizabeth Public School District policies and provisions, that are in addition to those outlined in the Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials, which stipulate the requirements and limitations of law enforcement officers’ conduct in Elizabeth Public Schools.
The Memorandum of Agreement (or otherwise titled contract) between Elizabeth Public Schools and the Elizabeth Police Department.
Data submitted by the District to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act in relation to law enforcement referrals, disaggregated by student race and disability status.
Documents documenting the cost of payment for policing services by Elizabeth Public Schools.
All Elizabeth Public Schools’ Board of Education meeting minutes regarding, and policies underlying, the increase in security referenced in the board minutes from the following dates:
03/19/2020; Page 3, “Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that a total of 17 law enforcement officers were provided to support us at our eight locations throughout the City of Elizabeth to service our 22,000 students.”
01/16/2020; Page 12, “Mrs. Barbosa asked if there were any questions. Mrs. Carvalho asked about the payment for police. Mr. Kennedy stated that the payment for the off duty police is in the Claims List and explained the new process for the payment of police.”
11/07/2019; Page 7, “Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that the report includes an acceptance of grant funds for the 2019 COPS Office School Violence Prevention Program in the amount of $494,750. to be used for security for our schools and grounds in partnership with our Elizabeth Police Department.”
05/02/2019; Page 7, ““Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that in the 2019-2020 budget the capital projects and maintenance projects include ... security improvements at 2 schools…”
05/09/2019; Page 3, “Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that the Elizabeth Public Schools presently employs 167 security guards district-wide, police officers in targeted locations, extensive security monitoring, metal detectors, and camera surveillance systems.”
08/23/2018; Page 4, “Mr. Glackin stated that the EPS supports include the Elizabeth Police Department, Juvenile Division, Detective Division, Traffic Bureau, Community Policing, and Union County Emergency Services and Emergency Management and that the Board of Education, lead investigator, investigators, and he work closely with them.”
02/22/2018; Page 8, “Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that as previously stated in recent communications to our community we presently employ security guards at all of our schools and office locations districtwide, police officers in targeted locations, extensive security monitoring, metal detectors and camera surveillance systems, all schools are locked throughout the day, and all visitors including employees are required to present identification which is scanned through the teacher parent authentication system (TPAS) before being allowed to enter any district building while any unauthorized are prohibited from entering.”
12/17/2015; Page 2; “Mr. Monteiro stated that we have the largest in-house security force in the State of New Jersey with over 160 security guards and probably still not enough.”
05/12/2015; Page 8, “Mrs. Carvalho asked if we are not cutting back on any police services. Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that is correct that we are not cutting back on the police services. Mr. Rodriguez asked when it changed. Mrs. Hugelmeyer stated that there is no reduction for the services for the Elizabeth Police Department in the budget.”
Please provide the documents in electronic format if you can. If any fee will be charged for your time or copies, please let me know in advance, before providing the documents, in order to arrange the most cost-effective way possible to access what I am asking for.
Even if you cannot provide documents responsive to all of these requests, please provide documents responsive to any individual requests or sub-requests.
Giovana G. Castaneda