‘A ticking time bomb.’ Teachers union expresses concern about violence at Perth Amboy middle school

This comes after an 11-year-old sixth grader who attended Samuel E. Shull Middle School allegedly stabbed another 11-year-old boy. The attack happened off school grounds, according to officials.

News 12 Staff

Feb 25, 2023, 3:56 AM

Updated 512 days ago


The American Federation of Teachers in Perth Amboy says that fights and student misconduct have increased this year at Samuel E. Shull Middle School. The union says that they have told the Board of Education and the superintendent that the environment in the school is not safe.
This comes after an 11-year-old sixth grader who attended the school allegedly stabbed another 11-year-old boy.
Smailyn Jimenez remains hospitalized at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital after surgery. Authorities say that the sixth grader stabbed Jimenez with a household knife. While the attack did not happen on school grounds, officials say it stemmed from a dispute from earlier in the day. But the victims’ family says that it may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Union President Pat Paridiso and district representative Lynn Audet tell News 12 that the school is dangerous.
“It’s horrible that something like this happened. We’ve been saying for the longest time now this is a ticking time bomb. It just breaks my heart that this is what it has come to,” says Audet.
Videos of different fights at the middle school have been circulating on social media.
“We are hearing assaults, fights, vaping, knives,” Audet says.
They say that they get constant calls from teachers who say they are afraid of teaching at the school.
“They’re terrified. They’re crying. They are afraid of being retaliated against,” says Audet.
Francis Carferty, a former teacher who resigned in December, wrote a letter at the beginning of this month expressing that the school is in extreme crisis. She explained how students are physically attacking themselves and the teachers and that there are no real consequences. Cafferty was a public school teacher for the city of Perth Amboy for more than a decade.
“I personally sent that letter to the full board, and I was told the president of the board was going to look into it,” says Paridiso. “But I know she didn’t talk with any of the staff members at the Shull School. I send that letter to her on Feb. 2.”
The teachers union says that during a board meeting on Feb 9, they once again brought their concerns about the violent and outrageous behavior of the students.
“I have actually sent emails to the board and basically told them everything that was going on at Shull School and a few days later, a child was stabbed,” says Audet
The Perth Amboy Mayor's Office and the board of education issued a joint statement that reads in part, "We must work together to provide a set of interventions and solutions that will work for our students. We want our students to feel safe and supported. The safety and security of our entire community, including our students, their families, and staff, is of utmost importance to every single administrator in this district."
News 12 has also learned that parents will be rallying outside the school on Monday to make their voices heard.

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