Home>Highlight>School resource officers poised to be campaign issue in Parsippany

Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

School resource officers poised to be campaign issue in Parsippany

By Nikita Biryukov, June 14 2021 9:36 am

Mayor Michael Soriano on Monday contested a letter from the Parsippany-Troy Hills School Board that claimed the town was nixing its School Resource Officer Program.

“To be clear: I fully support renewing the SRO program and Class III officers,” he said. “The SROs are more than just police officers. They are trained in understanding teenagers and have built trust with the youth in this community. The program needs to be fully funded. The only conversation happening is how it will be funded between the Board of Education and Township of Parsippany Troy-Hills.”

The School Board, led by council candidate Frank Neglia last Thursday the township’s attorney had told the board the SRO program would be nixed after June, invoking a series of school shootings to urge the officers be allowed to remain.

“Whatever the Township’s financial status, the issue of student safety and school community policing should not be a political football to be bounced back and forth,” the letter said. “It is inappropriate for the Township to so abruptly vacillate on this issue right before the close of schools, particularly when the agreement calls for discussions to begin no later than April 30th.”

In a statement issued Friday, the township said the program wasn’t going anywhere, adding negotiations between the local government and School Board were ongoing.

Republicans hold a narrow 3-2 majority on the council there. Neglia and his running mate, Morris County Young Republicans Chairman Justin Musella, face Democrats Cori Herbig and Judith Hernandez in November.

Schools, it seems, will be a campaign issue.

“Negotiating through the press is a childish and dangerous practice,” Soriano said. “I am calling on Board President Frank Neglia to stop using our students as political footballs, and start treating our schools and children’s safety with the seriousness it deserves.”

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