Some Perth Amboy parents say violence at district schools has gotten worse, children don’t feel safe
The stabbing of an 11-year-old boy in Perth Amboy, allegedly by another 11-year-old boy, has shocked the community and caused a bit of a revolution among the school district’s parents.
Smailyn Jimenez was stabbed on Feb. 22 while walking him from Samuel E. Shull Middle School. Jimenez told News 12 that his attacker apparently did not like the song Jimenez’s friend was singing during school and attacked him.
The school board is scheduled to have a meeting this Thursday. Meanwhile, four parents are speaking up about the issues they say their children are facing at the school. They say that the violence in the school district is rising.
“We need more protection, more security. At this point, metal detectors to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” says Rosemary Puntiel.
Those who are calling for change are using Jimenez’s situation as the prime example of what is going on in the district. Even the high school students have come out to protest.
Janyra Thompson says her daughter is afraid to go to school.
“And she is like, ‘Mami, is this normal? Is this how it is,’” Thompson says.
Ana Angeles says her daughter is traumatized and cries every day because she doesn’t want to go to school. Angeles says that when her daughter is there she doesn’t eat and does not talk to anyone. She is a sixth grader at the middle school.
Angeles says that on Oct. 26, her daughter was kicked to the floor and strangled allegedly by a male student.
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She says that she ended up taking her daughter to a hospital after the assault because she was not able to breathe. Angeles alleges the school didn’t have a report of the incident and that the school made false promises, including that the boy accused of attacking her daughter was going to get suspended. She says it never happened.
Puntiel says that her son was also bulled.
“The little boy pushed him down the stairs and took his sandwich from his bag. I went to the teacher, and I went to the principal and emails back and forth. It is frustrating because I have a daughter that used to get bullied in school in Perth Amboy and nothing was done,” she says.
Puntiel says that her son was also afraid to go to the bathroom at school.
“And he was like, ‘Mom you don’t know what happens in those bathrooms,’” she says.
The parents say that a lot of the teachers at Shull Middle School have left because they do not feel safe. They say that the district is pulling teachers from different schools whether they want to be there or not.
“As a parent, it is frustrating because I’m pretty sure I speak for everybody. We all work, and I can’t watch my kid while I’m at work. So the responsibility is at the school to make sure my kid is safe,” says Puntiel.
All of the parents say that they would pull their children out of the Perth Amboy City School District if they could.
But they say that this is easier said than done because there are many factors involved, including proximity to a school and the monetary investment if they consider a private school.
News 12 New Jersey plans to bring up these concerns at the school board meeting.
News 12 has reached out to the Perth Amboy mayor, the school board and the school superintendent multiple times for an interview but has not heard back.