THREE CAMDEN PARENTS FILE COMPLAINT SEEKING IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO CONSTITUTIONALLY ADEQUATE EDUCATION FOR THEIR CHILDREN
For Immediate Release
Monday, October 15, 2012
Contact: Patricia Bombelyn, Esq. 732 214 1166
Julio Gomez, Esq. 908 789 1080
October 15th, Trenton, New Jersey – Attorneys for parents of three Camden public school students filed a class action Complaint today with Education Commissioner Cerf, against the Camden Board of Education, seeking the immediate transfer of their children from Camden Public Schools. The parents, Sandra Vargas, Maria Roldan and Gricelda Ruiz maintain that their children are
being deprived of their state constitutional right to a thorough and efficient education and they are asking that their request for access to a better school be treated with urgency.
“Student outcomes in the schools attended by Keanu, Emmanuel and Freddie consist of astonishing failure rates of 90%, 70% and 60% in both language arts and math. But this should not be a surprise because after a recent series of audits of district functioning, or the inputs, the Commissioner of Education concluded that the district ‘inhibits’ student learning. Thus it is not a question of whether they are being deprived of their fundamental right to a thorough and efficient education, it is whether and for how long New Jersey will tolerate imposing a deprivation on Camden school children. A deprivation that is nothing short of a life sentence to the economic underclass of America,” stated Patricia Bombelyn, Esq., co-counsel for the parents.
Julio Gomez, Esq., co-counsel with Ms. Bombelyn, added, “There are no valid excuses for the conditions in Camden. There has been no shortage of resources for the provision of a quality education in Camden as per pupil
allotments have exceeded $22,000 for the last three years. The dysfunction within the Camden Public Schools has existed and grown worse over the last 10 years, despite literally billions of dollars that have been pumped in over the same span of time. Student output indicators have worsened as resources have increased. The lack of any sense of urgency to address the needs of Camden school children is tolerated only because these are children whose parents lack the resources to send their children to private schools or move.”
Keanu Vargas, 12 years old, a 7th grade student at Pyne Point Family School; Emmanuel Roldan, 8 years old, a 4th grade student at Dudley Elementary School and Freddy Hernandez, 5 years old, in 1st grade at Davis Elementary School, seek certification to represent a class of about 15,000 schoolchildren in Camden.
“My son has only one educational lifetime and it is now,” said Ms. Vargas, adding “how long must he wait to have access to a school that supports
learning?” “I am proud to be able to join with other parents to demand our children be respected. Our children deserve an education or how will they be able to dream the American dream,” asked Gricelda Ruiz, Freddie Hernandez’ mother. Maria Roldan concluded, “It is a parents’ worst nightmare that state law requires us to send our children to schools in a district that inhibits learning, and if I don’t send him they will fine me or worse.”
The Complaint and Emergent Motion was filed by the New Jersey law firms of Perez & Bombelyn, P.C., of New Brunswick and Gomez LLC, of Westfield, with the Bureau of Controversies and Disputes of the New Jersey Department of Education. Julio Gomez, explained, “The application will be heard and decided by the Commissioner of Education, possibly after an administrative law judge conducts a fact finding hearing, before it reaches the New Jersey Courts.” “We are prepared to see this matter through the judicial system if necessary, but we believe that the Department of Education has the specialized knowledge and experience with Camden to best appreciate how deep the district’s dysfunction is, and how urgent it is for the children to be able to access a high quality education,” added Patricia Bombelyn, Esq.
Fact Sheet Attached.
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