Friday, October 31, 2014


Do we really need this clutter at the Maplewood train station?

Candidates littering up this public space with campaign signs?

Well, according to NJ Transit, it is also a violation of their policy.

NJ Transit spokesperson William Smith said candidates are allowed to hand out literature, but placing campaign signs on the train station property is illegal. He said it can be reported to police as a littering offense.


Halloween in Maplewood Village:

3-5 pm.

Streets close for trick or treating at 3 pm. 

Costume contest and judging from 3-4:30. 

Prizes awarded at 4:40.


Our online survey of residents finds that most would vote for Challenger Kurt Kiley and Mayor Vic De Luca in the Township Committee election Tuesday.

Findings below:

Kurt Kiley............................75%
Vic De Luca.........................43.75%
Angel "Bob" Perez...............37.5%
India Larrier........................12.5%

Our survey had 75 responses, which is a high statistical amount given that about 6,000 Maplewood voters turned out in the last mid-term election in 2010.
Considering that most presidential polls use a sampling of under 2,000 for an election in which more than 125 million people vote, statistically it is pretty valid.

However, it is less scientific given that respondents can vote from anywhere in or out of town.

Still, we will see Tuesday what happens.


We've been following, or trying to follow, the disjointed efforts to limit the number of parents in classrooms at Tuscan school, and perhaps elsewhere, for months.

Principal Malikah Majeed has claimed the school is working with fire and town officials to fashion a uniform limitation. Either way, it is clear that only a few parents will be allowed into classes during events.

The first test of this will be today when schools have their annual Halloween parades and parties. Several teachers at Tuscan have already warned parents that no more than two or three can come into the classes. 

Majeed issued a notice to parents last week that stated only that parents need to obtain a pass from the class teacher to get into the classroom, it provided no specifics on limits.

Other longstanding rules limit when students can wear costumes, and others such as at Maplewood Middle School, ban wearing costumes at all.

We reached out to the district seeking some kind of guidance on what can be worn to school and how many parents can be in classes but have yet to hear back.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


We thought we would take a little break from the politics of the Board of Education race and offer a fun interlude.

We present the school board candidates 'Happy' song, with a guest appearance from Board president Beth Daugherty:


Chris Christie down the shore yesterday shows again he is a loudmouth bullying jerk


Nicole DuFault, the Columbia High School teacher charged with having sex with up to five students, has posted bail, according to

DuFault, 35, reportedly posted the $500,000 bail Oct. 19. Her attorney had argued for a lower amount, but to no avail.

More on her case HERE.


Today is the last chance to vote in our Township Committee poll.

Click HERE to cast your free, anonymous choices for Township Committee.

Results on Friday.


Maplewood's famed inventor Seth Boyden, for whom a school, a street and plenty of other things in town are named, was listed among the top 25 inventors in New Jersey history this week by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

The listing is part of year-long efforts to celebrate our state's 350th anniversary.

See the list HERE.

More on Seth Boyden HERE.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


We reported earlier today that the U.S. Department of Education had come to an agreement with the school district to correct problems with equality in advance placement.

A review of the letter from federal officials to the district detailing the findings of its investigation finds the district had a "statistically significant underrepresentation of African American students in the District’s high school AP courses."

It also stated that, "While African American students were 51.5% of high school enrollment, they were enrolled in only 18.7% (148 out of 791) of AP learning opportunities."

Finally, "African American student were underrepresented to a statistically significant extent in the District’s advanced math courses at the District’s middle schools, in which only 23 students (11.7%) were African American, while 407 (42.9%) out of 949 total students enrolled in seventh and eighth grade were African American.  OCR also determined that African American students were underrepresented to a statistically significant degree, in fourth and fifth grade math enrichment programs offered at the District’s four elementary schools, Clinton, Jefferson, Seth Boyden, and Tuscan."

See the full letter HERE.


7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

1 Hour to Savvy Cybersecurity: 10 Threats Every Person and Business Faces—and How to Fight Them Now
Main Library – Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats we face— nearly every day we are hearing news of a new data breach, hack, or attack targeting our personal information. The numbers are astounding:
  • 144 billion spam emails are sent every day…
  • 500,000 children’s identities stolen every year—and they don’t discover it until adulthood…
  • 100,000 new malware attacks released on the Internet every day
  • 1 in 5 businesses are the victims of business ID theft and 60% of those go out of business in just six months after a data breach…
  • 1 in 4 data breach victims later suffer ID theft
Learn the biggest threats out there and the best prevention methods you can take today.  This workshop will also help you create an action plan to improve your cybersecurity and will also provide a cybersecurity checklist to follow.
Presenter  Sean M. Bailey is editor-in-chief of Horsesmouth and the creator of the creator of the Savvy Cybersecurity program.


From the U.S. Department of Education:

U.S. Department of Education Announces Resolution of South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., School District Civil Rights Investigation

Black Students to be Afforded Equal Access to Advanced, Higher-Level Learning Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the School District of South Orange & Maplewood, New Jersey, to resolve a compliance review that examined whether black students are provided an equal opportunity to access and participate in advanced and higher-level learning opportunities.

OCR's investigation revealed that the school district's nearly 2,500 black students are significantly underrepresented in advanced and higher-level learning opportunities at the district's elementary, middle and high school levels For example, in the 2012-13 school year, black students had only 148 of the nearly 800 spots (18.7 percent) in the district's Advanced Placement (AP) courses, while they represented more than half (51.5 percent) of the district's high school enrollment Black students were also underrepresented in elementary and middle school math enrichment programs and advanced courses.

"I applaud the district's efforts to reinvigorate its course and program offerings to ensure that all of its students have an equal opportunity to reach their academic potential and equal access to a high quality education," said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights.

The district has taken significant steps to expand the advanced and higher learning opportunities for all of its students (over 6,600), including reducing tracking for many courses All fourth- and fifth-grade students now benefit from the English Language Arts enrichment program and the district is in the second year of phasing in the rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum in its new International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program to prepare its students for college preparatory courses at the high school.

The district has also revised the criteria for AP enrollment at the high school level In addition, the district has taken steps to support effective teachers and leaders through enhanced and targeted professional development These efforts are part of the district's implementation of a multi-year Transformation Plan to provide enhanced instruction and increased educational opportunities for its students, which OCR will monitor as part of its monitoring of the resolution agreement.

As part of the agreement, which the district agreed to enter prior to any OCR compliance determinations, the district committed to take specific actions to ensure that it is providing an equal opportunity and equal access for black students to participate in its college and career preparatory programs, in particular its advanced courses and enrichment programs, IB program, AP courses, honors courses, and dual enrollment courses.

Specifically, the district will take the following actions:

  • Work with an expert consultant; obtain feedback from students, parents and staff; and conduct a comprehensive self-assessment of its current programs and courses to identify any potential barriers;
  • Consider expanding criteria to determine eligibility and selection for enrollment;
  • Expand student, parent, and community outreach about the available courses and programs;
  • Make improvements to the academic counseling services at the middle and high school levels; and
  • Provide training for relevant district and school site administrators and personnel.
 A copy of the resolution letter is available here and agreement is posted here.
OCR's mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001.
For more information about the Office for Civil Rights, see For details on how OCR handles civil rights cases, visit

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron issued this harsh letter to the CHS students Monday after some apparently unacceptable behavior at Friday night's football game:

Good morning, Columbia. I regret this morning that I need to review with you both my own observations as well as those that have been shared with me by members of the community with regard to some of the choices you have made over the last several days.

On Friday night at our football game, we were greatly disappointed at the choice that many of you made not to be quiet during the singing of our National Anthem. It was an absolute embarrassment to watch many of be so rude during the performance of your classmates who were singing, and it was disrespectful to our marching band, our cheerleaders, and others present who were giving the American flag, our National Anthem, and our student performers their full attention.

CHS principal Elizabeth Aaron
It was equally appalling to listen not once, not even twice, but three times to a group of CHS students use vulgarities while cheering against the opposing team. Any cheer that uses, in the case of Friday night, what I will call the “f-word”, is a disgrace to Columbia High School. It is an embarrassment to our school and our two towns, and especially to our football coaching staff and every member of our football team. They have put in hundreds of hours since last spring and extraordinary efforts to begin to build a team and a program that will bring us recognition for years to come. 

We are proud of their work this season, and your poor choices during the game brought dishonor to them and their hard work. It was embarrassing for me not only as your principal, but also as a parent in our community who had my own children with me at the game to have to see them watch and hear such inappropriate behavior from Columbia High School students who should have been cheering for our team, not against Nutley.

Finally, I would like to apologize with and on behalf of our Student Council advisor, Ms. Edelman. The lack of adult oversight regarding musical selections for the Pep Rally resulted in students using a song whose word choice and sentiments are not reflective of our standards. The title and lyrics sung have led students, parents, staff, and community members to question our integrity and professionalism as well as to question the decency of our student body. We expect all of our school activities and the choices our students and staff make to embody that integrity and regret that student choices and behavior did otherwise on Friday.

Students and staff, every action that we take, whether inside our walls or outside, represents who we are as a community of scholars and citizens at Columbia. Your every word and all of your actions send a message to everyone who sees and hears you, and leads them to either question who we are or, or will make them want to be part of and proud of who we are. Please remember this every day, as you work hard and make good choices.


If you want to find out how much each of this year's candidates for the Board of Education and the Township Committee are spending, or how much they are raising, or who is giving it to them or what they are spending it on, too bad.

State law requires only that they disclose their contributions and spending if they raise $4,500 or more or receive contributions of $300 or more each.

Each candidate, except for school board challengers Elizabeth Baker and Maureen Jones, have filed papers indicating they plan to do neither. So that information is their own secret.

Jones and Baker said they plan to file a post-election document revealing their expenses and contributions. But nothing before Tuesday.

All but school board candidate Godwin Molokwu, who has apparently not filed any such disclosure forms as required by state law. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Of course if any of these candidates wish to disclose their fundraising and spending practices, we would be glad to report them.