The East Orange Unified Marching
Band assembles itself on what happens to be former Band Director
Fred Goode's birthday, and then marches past his house on Sanford
Street before heading out to let all of East Orange know how
unhappy they are with the way Summer Band Camp was cancelled by
the Board of Education, and unhappy that Mr. Goode's Job as Band
Director was terminated with the only reason given:
But first, they gather in Mr.
Goode's backyard and Saied Beckford, acting as Band Leader, leads
the students and parents in prayer so that their words will not
fall on deaf ears and unmoved hearts. Mr. Goode was surprised by
all of this, but could not refuse the band members and band
parents with whom he has worked for many years.
The Band Parents reorganize the
march on Sanford Street, and act as chaperones and traffic guards
as their children continue marching towards Central Avenue. I
will try to collect more information as the day unfolds and
report what is happening here.
The Band marched to Cicely Tyson
School. There Band parents met with Superintendent of Schools,
Dr. Gloria Scott, who told them that the termination of Mr. Goode
for "behavior unbecoming" was about to be changed. This
sounds "arbitrary and capricious" to me. According to
Chapter 227 of the New Jersey Statutes, specifically
C.18A:27-10.3 b, A paraprofessional employed in a school district
that receives funding under Title I of the federal Elementary and
Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. s.6301 et seq.) shall
be dismissed or reduced in compensation during the term of a
contract only for just cause, and may not be dismissed for arbitrary or capricious reasons. A paraprofessional who is dismissed or reduced in
compensation shall receive
notice of the basis for the dismissal or reduction in
compensation and have an opportunity to be heard. Mr. Goode has been told by members of the Board of
Education that he has no right to be heard.
The protest march of students and
parents then ended up at City Hall, where tonight there was a
meeting about the budget. When Ms Saez requested to be heard at
the public portion of the meeting, she was told that only she
could speak and that the students and parents present could not
speak to City Council. When she mentioned that, there was
surprise from some members of the Council that she was told they
could not speak at a publicly called meeting, whose only purpose
was to hear from the public. I am hoping that a legitimate member
of the press was present to record what went on at this meeting,
since other members of the public were also speaking about the
raising of taxes, the raising of the water rate, and the scandal at the City Animal Shelter. It should make interesting reading.
The East Orange Unified Marching Band (EOUMB) may be
playing for a new patron this fall regardless if they are
unable to retain their band director. (sic)
EOUMB Assistant Director (sic) Jacqueline Saez and the
band are considering City Council President Alicia
Holman's proposal to have them come under the
newly-formed Police Athletic League here August 24.
Holman asked her and 38 of the band's students, parents
and alumni to talk with Police Chief/Director William
Robinson after Monday's committee meeting.
Saez and company came to ask Holman and the council to
persuade the East Orange School District and Board of
Education to reinstate Frederick Goode. They said their
August 11 appeal to the board to keep Goode and Saez to
be suspended - and effectively firing Goode. (sic)
The board voted August 11 to put Teacher's Aide and East
Orange School District (EOSD) employee Saez on a 60-day
RICE suspension. Saez said that Goode's letter will have
him terminated October 11.
Firing Goode as Teacher's Aide after 25 years tenure
would also oust him as volunteer EOUMB director. Saez and
speakers said that firing Goode, who has always had
excellent performance reviews, is puzzling.
"We were told this June and Mr. Goode and I were
being investigated about a child who was reported as a
sodomy victim while on a 2013 trip," said Saez.
"The state came back this summer and said the
allegations against us were unfounded. The school
district wants to fire Goode anyway."
The EOUMB, to "Local Talk" understanding, had
been an independent marching band since East Orange and
Clifford Scott high schools were merged into EO Campus
High in 2008. EOSD, by adding a budget line item for
expenses, has taken the band under its wing the last two
Saez and band speakers Monday said that they approached
the council since the EOSD board are made up of mayoral
appointees approved by the council. (sic) Holman said
that the council could not directly intervene in
district-board personnel decisions.