Long Branch police are currently investigating an incident that occurred this past Thursday when four second-graders were wrapped up in a boy's bathroom at Gregory Elementary School. The boys were allegedly wrapped up with caution tape by two maintenance workers who then proceeded to take pictures.
The second graders relayed the incident back to their teacher, who then reported it to the school's principal. As of yesterday an investigation is being conducted into the two school employees, but they have not been arrested or charged. Each employee has put in a generous amount of time at the school, one for 20 years and the other with 10. Gregory Elementary School has currently suspended the employees in question with pay.
According to a Long Branch local news source, The Link, friends of the accused men describe them as hardworking, dedicated and trustworthy. Many other supporters of the men have surfaced, stating that they have been trusted members and volunteers for decades.
NJ.com reports that surveillance cameras at the school show the four boys walking into the bathroom Thursday morning, and walking out. An investigation is currently underway into the reports of pictures taken with a cell phone.
Could this be a crime, or simply a joke gone too far? According to reports, the boys did not appear distressed following the incident, and attended school on Monday. The incident was not believed to be sexual in nature either. A statement from State Senator Jennifer Beck, said that the maintenance works claim it was a harmless prank, in today's day and age this type of behavior is dangerous and simply unacceptable. Superintendent of Schools in Long Branch, Michael Salvatore, said that regardless of their intent, it was a stupid decision they made.
Many parents don't feel the same way. NJ.com reported that 100 angry parents arrived at the school on Monday to meet with Salvatore. Jennifer Rodriguez brought her kids to school on Monday only to turn around and take them back home. I don't want my kids in here right now, Rodriguez said tot the superintendent. You failed my kids.
According to Salvatore, the biggest issue is that there was a violation of procedure and systems, that adults were in a bathroom when children were in there.