A Call to Investigate Ocean City High School for Unsafe and Unjust Practices
A Call to Investigate Ocean City High School for Unsafe and Unjust Practices
Why this petition matters
We are demanding that the New Jersey State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, and the Prosecutor’s Office investigators conduct a formal investigation into Ocean City High School’s faculty, guidance, and administration for disorderly persons offenses, failure to act, reckless endangerment, child endangerment, wanton endangerment, reckless negligence, gross negligence, neglect of duty, failure to report, complicity/aiding and abetting, and wrongful death due to negligence, as well as any other criminal acts that are discovered within the scope of the investigation. The scope of the investigation should include members of administration and the guidance department, and if resources allow, some members of the faculty as well.
Please sign our petition to begin to fix the major issues that are present within the school. Think of your friends, your siblings, your children, your family, who either are currently attending the school or have graduated, but struggled with any of these issues while they were a student. No child deserves to go to an institution where they are bullied to the point where they do not want to wake up anymore. No child deserves to harm themselves, or starve themselves, or hate themselves, because of the harassment that goes on within the school. No parent deserves to have to find their child deceased because the school was the complete opposite of a safe space for them. No child deserves to get the phone call that their best friend died because the school did not protect them. No one deserves to experience what happens within Ocean City High School.
The following instances are only a few examples of the absolute lack of care that multiple members of Ocean City High School's administration, guidance, and faculty hold for their students. Not all of these instances amount to negligence and endangerment, nor are some of these illegal, but they all go to show a pattern: the leadership, as well as specific staff and faculty within Ocean City High School, have unjustly neglected students’ safety, health, well-being, and future. Please sign our petition so that we can begin to fix what is utterly broken within the school.
We will begin with the physical and sexual assaults, sexual harassment, bullying and harassment, hate crimes, and grooming on school property that is blatantly ignored, and in some cases, encouraged and allowed to continue occurring. The following accounts cover highly sensitive and traumatic topics, please advise as you read through these experiences.
A student was repeatedly assaulted by a group of boys on her school bus. She would sit alone when the boys would come over and surround her. They pulled her hair, tried to kiss her cheeks and neck, groped her breasts, put her in a chokehold from behind, and would grab her by the wrist to try to force her hands to touch their genitals. To fight back, she dug her nails into their arms and made them bleed. One of her assailants responded by biting her ear. She was threatened with suspension for “attacking” the boys, and the boys were not punished in any way. The student stayed after school every day to avoid the bus but could not afford a car to get to school in the mornings, leaving her vulnerable to the assaults that occurred on the school bus.
A student was repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped by her abusive boyfriend, who was another student, during her time at Ocean City High School. Several of these assaults happened within the building and on school buses. When found by a teacher during one of the assaults, the teacher called the home of the student and threatened to suspend her for the sexual acts being committed on campus and called her a “bad influence for other children” and “deeply misguided.” When trying to leave her boyfriend, he threatened to murder her friends and family and make the student watch. The student began to self harm and stopped eating due to anxiety. Another student reported the situation to guidance. After meeting with the student about the claims, guidance sent the boyfriend away for three days to a psychiatric hospital. He returned with no penalties and no rules to stay away from the student. He stalked her for several months, leaving notes in her locker and following her between classes. The student felt as though she ran out of options and attempted suicide. Thankfully, she did not succeed.
A student was continually harassed by a teacher who has since been promoted to a district position. The teacher called her "monkey," and told her that she was the reason people have abortions. He asked where she was from, and she responded with a state outside of New Jersey, and he stated that "they breed retarded people" and that "it's in the water." He asked her if she was adopted because her parents must not have loved her. After her best friend died by suicide, the student tried speaking out about it because she felt it needed to be investigated and was told to "shut up" or she would never get a job within the District. The student who died by suicide is the student who was the victim of hate crimes by a teacher.
A student was sexually assaulted while on school grounds during lunch, and there were witnesses that the student was constantly isolated during lunch, but no action was ever taken by administration or the guidance department at the school. She was sexually assaulted numerous times and teachers witnessed the offender with one of his hands around the victim’s neck, with bloody fingers, as the victim was in tears. They made prolonged eye contact with the victim during one of the assaults, and the victim mouthed “help” several times, to which they laughed.
A student who graduated in the 1990s reported that there were numerous sexual assaults committed by teachers against students. She stated that it was a "well known secret," and as you can tell from the rest of the statements included in the petition, the assaults committed by teachers have not lessened in the 25-30 years since this occurred.
A teacher committed hate crimes against a Muslim student, and the administration ignored the acts and allowed it to continue. The teacher told the Muslim student that if she was old enough, she would have been flying a plane on 9/11 to kill the Americans in her class, which is considered harassment based on one’s religion and origin, which is therefore legally considered a hate crime. The teacher made many more hateful remarks, including calling the student Muslim slurs and stating that she looks related to the orchestrator of 9/11, Osama bin Laden. The student then committed suicide, and many news articles state that it was because of the relentless bullying she experienced. Administration’s failure to address the bullying, especially when perpetrated by a member of faculty, is a matter of negligence, and as such, her suicide is wrongful death due to negligence. If the hate crimes and harassment were addressed, it may have ended differently. But students were immediately silenced when reporting the harassment.
A student made a speech regarding gay rights, and a teacher passed her a note commending her for her bravery for speaking about the topic. The teacher later pulled the student aside, and asked many questions about her (the student) being a lesbian. The teacher sent the student several emails, asking to meet after school hours. Another teacher told the student that the school reads all of their emails, and the communication with the teacher abruptly ended. The school was aware that the teacher was acting inappropriately with the student, but no action was ever taken.
A student reported that in the 90s, a teacher would bring students to his home while class was in session. The student reported that his entire classroom felt "like a space to groom girls." She stated that if you participated in the flirting, you would be given an A in the class. If you did not participate in the flirting, you would be given a B, even if they received a 100 on everything. The one-semester class was essentially a few drama exercises, although the current curriculum states that it is supposed to be far more than that. The student witnessed the teacher touch students inappropriately and make inappropriate jokes. The student reported that everyone was aware of what was occurring. No action was ever taken in regards to this teacher. The student also reported that in health class they had to plan a wedding in order to graduate, and then fake marry members of the opposite sex in the auditorium. LGBTQ+ students were not allowed to pretend marry members of the same sex, which shows that the school's anti-LGBTQ+ agenda goes over three decades into the past. Additionally, the student reported that another teacher looked up her skirt several times and said that she should sit like a lady, which made the student feel as though she was to blame for the sexual harassment. Another student corroborated these claims, and stated that the teacher was always with female students. The alum stated that he would "get very cozy" with female students in the hallway and that his behavior was very open. The teacher would attend the parties thrown by current students, as well. The student who reported this also stated that another teacher, who is still teaching at the school, who has relationships with students and was infatuated with girls that played basketball. He allegedly gave the students he had relationships with passing grades. At the time this alum was attending school (in the 90s), the teacher was sleeping with two students at the same time. He is allegedly still engaging in sexual relationships with his students and the children he coaches to this day, nearly thirty years since the first alleged sexual relationship with minors.
After a student was assaulted on school grounds, the nurse had the student return to class, without assisting them with walking, and then accused the student of harming themselves. There were witnesses and camera footage of the assault, but the perpetrator was not punished. Administration reprimanded the student who was assaulted and punished the student by forbidding them from engaging in certain activities in class. Administration did not report the assault to the on-site police officers, security, or the victim’s parents. Upon an outside investigation into the assaults, Ocean City Police Department stated that they were never made aware of any abuse or assault that occurred between the victim and the perpetrator in the school.
A student was sexually assaulted by another student at Ocean City High School. She told her guidance counselor that she wanted to harm herself, and they sent her home. She did harm herself after being sent home. Guidance was aware that she hurt herself, but they did nothing. No one ever checked on her or followed up with her, and she dropped out of the school.
A student transferred out of Ocean City High School because of bullying. The guidance department stated that filing a report against the bullies would do nothing to stop them and that it would only antagonize them. The student was not allowed to file a report, and the guidance counselor only yelled at the student, rather than working to resolve the situation.
There was an incident in which students physically fought during lunch. The teachers, who were next to them, did not make an attempt to intervene, stop the fight, or contact security. The students involved in the fist fight then threw open condoms on uninvolved students next to them.
A student at Ocean City High School made threats against a student at another high school, and the Ocean City High School administration was made aware when the guidance department at the other school contacted them. The Ocean City High School student also confessed to assaulting someone else and causing severe bodily harm, in text messages to the other student. The message read: “The extremely bad thought I had was of raping you. I had done that to someone, and it was really bad. She went to the hospital and had a rape kit done, and the police got involved...” The “someone” in the message disclosed to the guidance department at Ocean City High School, as they were a student. Administration did not speak to the student who sent the message, and they reprimanded the student who disclosed the assault to them. Administration did not notify the police or security (although both students involved the police). No action was taken to protect either student from potential future harm, and no action was taken in reprimanding the student who made the threat. The student was later given two full pages in the beginning of the yearbook (plus additional parts). Ocean City Police Department later stated that the Ocean City High School administration never made a report on behalf of the abuse.
A student was cyberbullied the summer before entering Ocean City High School, and the harassment continued when she became a student. A member of the guidance department asked if she ever considered transferring out, rather than taking any action regarding the bullying. The same member of the guidance department said that she could file a HIB report, but that it "generally makes things worse," so it was heavily discouraged. We received an insider report that there were allegedly forty HIB reports filed in the span of four years, which was interesting considering "“For 2014-15, Ocean City self-reported 41 incidents of violence or bullying." If the insider report is correct, that means that a large number of students were not allowed to file HIB reports, even if the harassment was reported. Additionally, the student had to be placed on homebound due to depression caused by bullying, and she had a doctor's note to verify that. The school doctor at the time refused to sign the note until every instance of the word "bullying" was removed. The liaison between students who are on homebound cut this child's courses, "forgot" to bring assignments to her home, and "basically set [the] child up to fail."
According to https://www.capemaycountyherald.com/community/schools/article_ee19f714-722b-11e8-9377-1354c5838c1e.html “For 2014-15, Ocean City self-reported 41 incidents of violence or bullying, the most in Cape May County, according to the New Jersey Department of Education’s annual report on violence, vandalism and substance abuse. In 2015-16, the most recent statistics available in the same study, Ocean City was third highest in the county, at 26 incidents of violence, vandalism and substance abuse.” Substance abuse will be addressed later on within this document. As you can see from the statistics, Ocean City High School has rampant bullying. Those numbers are what was self-reported by the administration, which as you see here, is not an accurate figure. Harassment is ignored and students are not allowed to file reports on bullying.
A student who died by suicide was bullied by another student who posted a video of him being intimate with another student without permission, and no action was taken to either remove the video or to punish the student who posted it. The video is still online, to this day.
A student reported that she was harshly bullied from K-12, and that Ocean City High School administration "intimidated" her into not reporting her bullies. She was close friends with a student who died by suicide, and reported that the deceased student disclosed bullying to her. Administration and guidance did not take action against the bullies, and the student died by suicide because of the unresolved harassment.
A student was bullied in gym class because after she was outed for her sexuality and her classmates did not want to change in front of her. Some of her classmates’ parents went to the extent of calling the school to report that they were uncomfortable with the student being in the locker room. That student never behaved inappropriately but was bullied by homophobic students. Rather than reprimanding the bullies, the student was told that she was only allowed to change in staff bathrooms, rather than in the locker room or student bathrooms. The student did not want to change in the staff bathrooms, and she failed the gym class because of that.
A student was harassed for a very long time and no one within the school took action. She was called antisemitic slurs, asked where her horns were, and was told that it’s a shame her face does not match her chest. She was often told that everyone in her class hated her. She was sexually harassed online and in person. She was chased in between her classes and was provided no assistance. She self-harmed, had an entire limb covered with wounds, and had that limb uncovered, and no faculty mentioned it to her, to guidance, or to her parents. She was ignored by faculty. She was not allowed to file a HIB form.
A student was placed in an advanced English class in 10th grade, and the teacher was blatantly homophobic. The teacher joined in on name-calling with the students who bullied her. He explicitly stated that “being gay is an abomination to society” and he also participated in numerous hateful conversations about being anti-LGBTQ+. The student asked for her class to be changed and the request was denied. She was told if she did not like the class that she could drop down to a college prep level English course. This was unfair, and she said “I had to give up a class I belonged in and sacrifice being at a level I deserved to be at just to avoid being bullied.” Action was only taken due to her IEP, as it is a legal document, but she was mistreated harshly. The instances where she was harassed are considered a hate crime, as it was due to her sexuality.
Two students were bullied by a group of students and the bullying was to the extent that they would need to speak to administration nearly every class period. Administration never separated the students, even though it was warranted by the level of harassment they experienced.
A student was very harshly bullied for several years throughout high school. A member of administration found a suicide note written by a classmate pretending to be this student. No action was taken to discern the identity of the classmate who wrote the note or punish the writer. Additionally, this student reported that a classmate was pantsed in the middle of a class, with a few dozen witnesses (including teachers), exposing his genitals, and no action was taken to reprimand the student who pantsed the classmate.
A student was harshly bullied on school property for six months. The bullying incidents included verbal harassment and objects being thrown at him, which is legally considered physical assault. A member of administration, after learning of the physical assault, responded, "This is pretty low-level bullying. It's not like your son is going to kill himself." That line was said shortly after the suicide of another student who was very close with the victim and the victim's family. The absolute lackluster response, especially after the suicide of another student, and the failure to act is astonishing.
A student was bullied during the years that she attended Ocean City High School. The student disclosed the harassment to a teacher, who reported it to her guidance counselor. The counselor did not speak to the bully or punish her in any way. The student being bullied was left to deal with the situation alone. The student who bullied her then reported the student being bullied, and the student being bullied was threatened with being suspended. Harassment and bullying is not dealt with in any way, which leads to suicide. The student was told to “grow up and suck it up.”
It has recently come to light that a student was sexually assaulted by a teacher while on school grounds, while school was in session. A few other teachers were also involved in non-consensual sexual activity with students. One student reported a teacher who was inappropriate with the minors on school grounds, and the student was reprimanded harshly. The incident was not reported to the police. Additionally, at least one teacher engaged in sexual activity with a student shortly after they graduated. The potential for grooming is a legitimate concern, as well as the rumors that students sleep with teachers for passing grades. In regards to sexual assault that occurs among their students, members of the guidance department and administration engage in severe victim-blaming. One member of the guidance department told one student’s mother, after learning of a brutal sexual and physical assault, that the students (both the victim and the perpetrator) were too intimate for the sexual assault to be legitimate. Again, although not illegal, that is incredibly immoral. According to https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.5172/jamh.5.1.53?journalCode=ramh19 victim-blaming is “considerably interrelated” with suicide. The student attempted suicide shortly after this interaction because the lack of support from the school pushed her over the edge.
A group of students witnessed a teacher groom a fifteen-year-old student in 2014. When the students went to various adults and other teachers, they were told that they had no proof and that they could go to prison for defamation of character. That teacher later was arrested for sexually assaulting a minor on school grounds. This same group of students heard the same teacher use Islamophobic vocabulary and phrases in front of a Muslim student who later comitted suicide. The “defamation of character” line was used with another student who reported a member of the faculty who was engaging in pedophilic acts. The student was later suspended due to her report.
One student requested a HIB (harassment, intimidation, bullying) form but was denied until shortly before they (the victim and the perpetrators) graduated, thus preventing the bullies from being reprimanded or facing any consequences.
A student was viciously bullied for two years at Ocean City High School and the Principal never once met with her. Another student, who reported her assailant as a student at the school, was called into the Principal’s office that day. However, she was told to recant her assertion. The administration has shown that they only speak with victims of bullying when it suits their needs.
Administration actively provides an unsafe space for students by promoting a view that LGBTQ+ does not exist within the student body. Upon asking for a gay/straight alliance organization, a member of the administration retorted that “there are no gay students here.” Many students are LGBTQ+, and the administration’s comment (and failure to consider them as valid) are very damaging to students’ overall mental health. Although not illegal, it is immoral, and goes to show a pattern regarding prior instances in which LGBTQ+ students are mistreated.
A student rejected a male classmate's romantic advances when he cornered her in his car, and the student was then bullied so harshly that she no longer wanted to attend school and developed a stress twitch in her eye for six months. The bullying turned into cyberbullying when classmates made FaceBook groups about her and it spread to outside events outside of school. The student reported the bullying to the on-site police officers and the guidance department, and she was told "boys are mean to you when they like you." No action was taken, and the school never spoke to the male student who was tormenting her, or the other students who were involved in the bullying. Her counselor told her that it was not a big deal and that it would blow over. She was viciously bullied for months, with no assistance from the school.
A student was harshly bullied throughout the years that she was a student at Ocean City High School. Rumors were also spread about her that were entirely false. The counselors did not take action; they said that there was nothing they could do. Their response was to call the student emotionally disturbed and refuse to provide any assistance. That student's boyfriend at the time was expelled for trying to stand up for her, thus leaving her without support while she was enrolled.
A student was physically and emotionally abused at home very terribly. That student attempted suicide multiple times. She tried seeking help from different departments within the school (such as guidance and Administration), but the Administration accused her of lying and thoroughly neglected her needs. She was also bullied in front of staff who failed to intervene and in some instances even encouraged the harassment.
"It's horrific and tragic that I had to choose between life and an education." Stated by a former student after dropping out of OCHS.
The next topic is regarding the mental health issues amongst students that are ignored by Ocean City High School administration, faculty, and guidance. Many of these events rise to criminal failure to act offenses, while others go to show a pattern, that students are ignored while in crisis.
When a member of the guidance department was made aware that a student had suicidal thoughts and a concrete plan to end their lives, the member of the guidance department did not notify their parents or any necessary higher bodies, such as administration. Instead, the member of the guidance department had the student “pinky promise” that they would be alive to continue the conversation after the weekend. The student attempted suicide, as they were allowed to leave school grounds and the parents were not made aware of the student’s crisis. The member of the guidance department did not follow up with the student after the weekend.
A member of the guidance department was made aware that a student, who was bullied and struggling with their mental health, brought a weapon to school with the intent of causing significant harm. That member of the guidance department did not pull the student aside because they were in math class (this was stated directly to the students who made the report). They also did not alert security or the on-site police officers, and they did not confiscate the weapon, either.
A student, who was taking Honors and AP classes, was told that she was not smart enough to apply to her choice of colleges. That student reports that OCHS guidance does not care about students' mental health struggles, and that their main focus is getting children into college, not on helping students in crisis.
The nurse and the guidance department were made aware that a student was engaging in self-injury and did not take appropriate action (notifying parents, counselors, etc.) One member of faculty stated that it was a lame attempt to be excused from gym class. The student’s parents were not notified of the self-harm, and the student was not provided mental health assistance. The school nurse provided bandaids to the student, saw that the wound was nearly to the muscle layer and was closed with dirty duct tape, but did not report the injuries to anyone within the school or the student’s family. That violates a mandatory reporting law regarding students’ safety. An injury to that extent should have been reported, and the student should have been sent to the ER to have the wound tended to and closed. However, the student never received help.
Administration was shown a 10 page document on suicide methods, along with a suicide note, that a student wrote, and no action was taken. Administration did not speak to the student who wrote the document, but they told the student who made the report that they would talk to her.
When a student attempted suicide, administration called the student’s mother and told her that the student’s attitude was horrible. The student then dropped out of Ocean City High School.
A member of the guidance department stated, in direct words, that they do not care when a student stated that she will shoot herself in front of the school because they refuse to take action against her rapist, who was a fellow student. The exact words were, “Go ahead, we don’t care.”
A few students reported that they never planned on living past age eighteen because of the bullying that they experienced at Ocean City High School, which was always left unresolved. One student was sent to the psychiatric ward for suicidal ideation because she was so terrified that college would be similar to high school that she was going to kill herself to avoid it.
Ocean City High School responded to the many students’ suicides by implementing a Wellness Center, which was not used in an appropriate way. Students were either not allowed to leave class to visit the room, or they were only allowed to be in the room for a short period of time (such as 15 minutes). However, a certain group of students was allowed to stay throughout entire class periods. The School was provided an award for the room that did nothing to help students who were in mental health crisis. The suicides continued, in part due to a lack of response. The room is solely a front to show the community that they allegedly care about their students. However, as you can see here, bullying and suicidal ideation is completely ignored by the school. A student went to the room, in tears, after her friend died by suicide. She was told that because her friend was not a student, that the room was not meant for her. She then had to return to class.
A student alerted the nurse that she was self-harming, and the nurse did not care. The student told members of faculty that she needed help or she would end up dead before graduation. She stated that she was not able to stop harming herself, because that was her only coping mechanism, and that she cut deeper every time. She showed them sections in her journal in which she wrote “10:45, I want to destroy myself. 10:47, cuts on hip are so weak. Need more.” She showed them a list that she wrote, with 2 reasons to live, and 6 reasons to commit suicide. Another journal entry, “Hit styro. Couldn’t be happier and more depressed. I want to die. Please God let me go.” A month later, “Hitting styro and fat with every cut. God, why am I still here?” About a month later, “I cut through fat a few nights ago. My cuts finally aren’t pathetic. I’m actually pretty happy about that. Proud, too.” Another entry, “I can’t stop cutting, but I’m okay with that.” These were all shown by the student to faculty at Ocean City High School. Her parents were never told about the journal entries or the student’s worsening self harm. Because of that, the student continued self-harming to the point where she has permanent and irreversible damage to her nerves. Administration and the guidance department took zero action to help the student in any way. Instead, she was berated and ridiculed for her self-harm.
Another topic that we would like to address is the substance abuse within the School that is not dealt with in an appropriate or adequate way. Members of the faculty partake as well as students.
As you saw in the prior part of this petition about bullying, “In 2015-16, the most recent statistics available in the same study, Ocean City was third highest in the county, at 26 incidents of violence, vandalism and substance abuse.” Administration has not made sufficient attempts to curb the substance abuse that occurs amongst the students, some of which occurs on school property. Students purchase and sell drugs on school property and some teachers were involved in substance abuse as well (both in purchasing from students and in partaking in drug use). Students attend class while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and it is also ignored.
A student attended class while under the influence of drugs and alcohol numerous times before she dropped out, and no one (no faculty, no administration, no counselors) provided her with help. That student suffered from addiction for six years, which started because of the school.
One student suffered from an addiction, which began when she was a student at Ocean City High School due to the utter lack of respect and help that was provided to her. Using a BAC calculator, as the peak of her alcoholism, she had a BAC of .53, which could have been fatal. It could have been potentially higher than .53, as she did not eat prior to drinking. She was unconscious for several hours and she was unable to speak clearly for well over eighteen hours. It took over twenty four hours until she could walk without being dizzy after this binge-drinking episode.
The following part of the petition will be in regards to their response to the massive number of suicides amongst the student population. Although some of these instances are not illegal, they show a pattern, that the administration, faculty, and guidance do not care about the students in their care. However, for some of those who died by suicide, their deaths can be considered wrongful deaths caused by negligence. The administration and guidance department failed to act when the students were in severe crisis and they failed to address the rampant bullying that pushed them to end their lives. If they had acted as they are legally required to, those who died in their care might still be alive. Several of those who died by suicide were harshly bullied.
Several students died by suicide when they were students at Ocean City High School, or shortly after they graduated: One of which was bullied while they were attending Ocean City High School (https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/after-girls-suicide-mom-speaks-out-to-stop-another-tragedy/article_c0fd9dc2-858e-11e4-99dc-07df6b6230dd.html Which played a role in the student's suicide. Although the former students were not currently enrolled at the time of their death, the effects of the bullying at Ocean City High School follow students for years after graduation. See this article for the lasting effects: https://www.verywellfamily.com/bullying-impact-4157338
After a student died by suicide, they provided no grief counseling. They allowed students to leave school the day his death was announced, and they still held a planned pep rally that afternoon. A news article stated that grief support was provided (https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/second-ochs-student-in-a-year-commits-suicide/article_0f72f754-7422-11e5-bbef-4308cfb291cd.html but students who attended Ocean City High School at that time reported that no such action was taken; counseling was not provided. Students were told “suck it up” and to go to class. Although not illegal, it’s abysmally immoral.
After the suicide of a student, one close friend of that student was asked by her guidance counselor if she was okay. She responded no, and the guidance counselor told the student not to hurt herself and then sent her back to class. The guidance counselor did not care that she was crying; the student was forced to return to class, very upset. That is what they call grief support.
A student who died by suicide was not included in the yearbook. Members of staff claimed that it was because his student ID was not active, but that is false. They also claimed that the family requested his photo not be used, which is also false. His family was upset that he was not included in the yearbook. OCHS faculty and administration essentially tried to erase the deceased student from school. Students were not even allowed to speak his name after his death.
After a student’s suicide, another student was visibly upset and crying. A member of administration told the student to “get over it.” Additionally, that student was also upset due to a personal loss, and another member of administration told her to “deal with it.” No support was provided to the student, in terms of mental health support, grief support, etc.
“Deal with it” is also what another member of administration told another crying student. This student was crying during lunch, and the member of administration waved her over to him. She went, and he told her “Deal with it, you can’t do that here.” The student responded that she was being bullied and wanted to kill herself, but the member of administration did not care.
Another student reported that a member of administration told her to “grow up” when she was upset after her friend/classmate died by suicide, and that member of administration then added “unlike him” and scoffed. This member of administration was making a joke that a dead child won’t grow up. Again, that is what they call grief support: making fun of the deceased students.
A student reported that after Maliha Chowdhury and Kevin Potter died by suicide, members of the staff and administration told students not to mention their names.
The following is in regard to the abuse of power that occurs within members of the faculty, administration, and guidance, and more instances of failure to act as their duties require them to.
A student was diagnosed with “bipolar disorder triggered by trauma” as a result of the bullying and treatment from Ocean City High School. The school had every report of her listed as “oppositional defiant disorder,” which is not what the student was diagnosed with. The student thoroughly believes that her disorder was mislabeled because she stood up for herself.
A student was placed in the 2pm-6pm after-school program and he believes that it was due to racial bias. He was told that he was a distraction to others, but he fully maintains that he was not.
Another student was threatened with placement into the 2pm-6pm program because she refused to withdraw her assertion that a student sexually assaulted her. She was told that she would need to be with those similar to her in terms of mental impairment/stability. Everytime she was physically assaulted by the student, she was removed from school and sent to the psychiatric ward in an attempt to cast doubt on her claims. Every time, the psychiatric doctor reported that she was sane and not delusional or psychotic, contrary to Ocean City High School administration’s claims. Her guidance counselor stated that she was not insane, and that if the student who assaulted her “was anyone else, instead of him” that action would have been taken. The counselor also stated that the student had to stop, because if administration expelled anyone, that it would not be the student who assaulted her. He said that she would be expelled instead.
A student was given three options as to what would happen to her in regards to her school future: transferring, dropping out (which guidance and administration heavily encouraged), and being placed in a “special” class. They told the student that the “special” class is “a class where the other kids like you are.” The student asked the administration and counselors what they meant by “kids like you,” and the response was: “kids with behavioral problems, there’s a lot of bipolar kids in there” and also “kids who are a distraction.” Rather than resolving the massive number of problems that are present within the school, students are forced to leave and/or are silenced.
Officials at Ocean City High School filed a false report to CPS to cover their claims that they were allowing a student to be abused by a fellow classmate. Knowingly filing a false report is a crime in the state of New Jersey. They were aware of who the abuse was orchestrated by, and were aware that the student’s family was not abusive, yet they filed a report to cover their tracks.
A student disclosed familial abuse to members of administration. Administration called the student’s parents and told them that their child was telling inappropriate lies about them, thus making the home situation even more unstable and unsafe. Administration did not alert CPS or the police. It is a law that administration is required to notify the appropriate organizations of suspected child abuse. According to https://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/socservices/abuse/training/mod3/pres.pdf “Any person knowingly violating the provisions of this act including the failure to report an act of child abuse having reasonable cause to believe that an act of child abuse has been committed, is a disorderly person” (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.14). And “Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse according to the law is a disorderly person and subject to a fine up to $1,000 or up to 6 months in prison, or both” (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3 and 2C:43-8).
A student spoke to the guidance department about a classmate who had several large bruises on her legs, and the guidance department never spoke to the student who had many bruises. As stated in a prior failure to act instance, not reporting potential child abuse is a criminal offense.
The following accounts are related to harmful ideas and traditions and how they've influenced the student body and curriculum of OCHS.
Another student who was enrolled around this time reported that in health education class, they had to care for eggs (the school now uses flour bags) and have a fake relationship with a classmate. She reported that the male students did not help with the assignment; the female students had to learn about budgeting and child care. Only the female students were given the egg; no male students were. If the egg broke, the students could fail the project. One student was given two eggs to simulate twins. Another student reported that her egg was pink and was carried in a basket. One student reported that "It was teaching this heteronormative experience and antiquated gender role of women's work," and believe that this takes a very sexist agenda. The relationships with classmates were forced against their will; they would fail and/or not graduate if they did not comply with the relationship.
A student reported that, upon asking for a gay/straight alliance club, that there is already a mental health club so there would be no need for a LGBTQ+ club. That insinuates that they believe their LGBTQ+ student are mentally ill.