JUST OUT: Senate Education Chair Asks Asbury Park Staff Members To Speak Up–Confidentiality Assured

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Below are two emails. The first is from Asbury Park Education Association’s president John Napolitani; it went out earlier today requesting that APEA staff members contact Senator Vin Gopal, the new Chair of the Senate Education Committee. The second email is from Sen. Gopal himself, sent yesterday afternoon. In his note, Sen. Gopal requests that Napolitani share his email information with staff so he can better understand their concerns, with full protection of confidentiality. In his own email Napolitani is complying with that request.

NJ Ed Report received these two emails from multiple sources.

In addition, the APEA president has copied officials from NJEA and several lawyers, at least one associated with NJEA. He urges staff to speak up, with no fear of retaliation, in order to rebut the notion circulating around Trenton that Napolitani is merely a “disgruntled employee.” Full rebuttals of that notion can be found in a climate survey distributed to district staff in which members expressed sentiments like, “teachers are treated like dogs,” “I would send my child here over my dead body,” and reflecting on the incompetence of superintendent Rashawn Adams. Or in an earlier survey where staff members ranked four internal candidates to replace outgoing superintendent Sancha Gray (Adams came in last) and the district was described as rife with “incestuous nepotism,” “students leaving in droves,” and an “outrageous exploitation of the community by the current administration in central office.”

Email #1:

Good Afternoon,

The below email is from Senator Vin Gopal, the new Education Senate Chair, in regard to an email I sent Lester Richens (County Executive Superintendent of Schools) and copied Vin, NJEA President, Sean Spiller, and several others. They are hearing the concerns here in Asbury Park as I am the spokesperson for the Association. However, the email is being labeled as a “disgruntled employee”, which is not the case.  It looks like I am the only one that is sharing the sentiments of what staff are relaying to me as the majority representative. This obviously is not the case, so I am enlisting your assistance.

In the below email, The Senator is asking people to contact him or he will reach out to you. It is imperative that you be honest with the Senator if he should call you and give him details about what is going on here now in the Asbury Park School System, as you have been relaying concerns to me for almost a year. Please keep any dialogue professional and please try not to get personal. If you choose not to let the Senator know your factual evidence, choose not to speak with him, and it only comes from myself, then he will not be able to assist us here in Asbury Park. The Senator has assured me these conversations are in complete confidence.

You can email Senator Gopal at his personal email: [email protected] This email should also be sent to any retirees because they too should have a voice. Again, these conversations are in confidence.Thank you for all your help.

In Solidarity,

John Napolitani
President

Email #2:

From: Vin Gopal 

Sent: Wed, Jan 19, 2022 12:27 am
I would like to speak to teachers in the Asbury Park School District to get their opinions. Could you kindly share my e-mail with them or seek their permission for me to call them. Every conversation will be confidential.

Thanks,
Vin Gopal
State Senator

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