Dear Dr. Ponds, Dr. Morgan and Montclair Board of Education Members,
Thank you for your service to our community and our children. The Equity, Anti Racism and Opportunity Gap subcommittee within PTAC has been tasked with ensuring all students, families and individuals in our community are treated fairly and with respect. As a committee, we write this statement in order to express our thoughts and concerns regarding the whistleblower statement made by Mr. Kelley.
Please note our statement is one where we support the rights and interests of all persons in accordance with law and district policy. As a committee we believe in the system of the Montclair Public Schools and want to work directly with district administrators to correct shortfalls and enhance all areas that are working well.
Please allow this statement to show our commitment to our families, their children and all staff of MPS. We look forward to your next steps on this matter.
Our committee, the Equity, Anti-Racism and Opportunity Gap (EAROG) Committee of the Montclair PTA Council, has read and reviewed the Whistleblower report submitted by Mr. Kelley. As a committee, we feel strongly that many of the allegations made within this statement spoke directly to the EAROG mission. As a committee, we want to thank Dr. Ponds and his staff for being transparent during this time and keeping our community informed, expressing the seriousness with which he takes the allegations and initiating an independent third party investigation. We also applaud those individuals who stood firm in their support.
EAROG would like to offer our support to the district in establishing our community’s agreement and commitment to the following principles: All schools and school facilities must be maintained equitably, in accordance with state guidelines and the health, safety and educational needs of the students and staff. No facility, regardless of location or student population, should be denied the support it requires for effective cleaning, maintenance and remediation of hazardous conditions. All staff and families must be engaged in a shared commitment to uphold the District’s equity and anti-bullying policies. And that commitment must extend to all students, staff and families who may be subject to bullying, harassment, intimidation or neglect.
Any behavior, verbal or written, that does not exhibit these values should be reported immediately and investigated in accordance with the District’s policies and regulations. When the district receives a credible allegation that meets the definition of harassment, intimidation and/or bullying under state and district laws, policies and regulations, it is essential that the rights and interests of all individuals be protected. Whenever legal and operationally possible, the accused should not be allowed to remain in a position to do further harm. Reassignment or administrative leave should be leveraged whenever appropriate.
EAROG and all of our PTAs will be here to support the District, its staff and all of our families, in whatever way we can, to ensure equity among ALL individuals.