Edison Board of Education announces measures to tackle substance abuse

Edison Board of Education announces measures to tackle substance abuse

Edison Board of Education President Biral Patel announces measures to tackle substance abuse in prepared remarks at the Feb. 27 action meeting. EDISON BOARD OF EDUCATION/Livestream

EDISON, N.J., April 3 (ZFJ) — Edison Board of Education President Biral Patel announced measures to tackle substance abuse in schools at the Feb. 27 action meeting.

“It has been brought to our attention that issues persist, especially in two of our high schools,” Patel said in prepared remarks during the meeting. “To have an enforcement so everyone feels safe, updating policies are very important so administrators have the tools to address the issues. We must go to the root of the problem to address it adequately.”

Patel noted that school restrooms have been identified as “one of the problem areas” as well as vaping instruments that may appear to be innocuous items like pens.

He announced the formation of an ad-hoc school security, culture, and climate committee to look into the substance abuse problem and “come up with enforceable solutions.”

The committee will include the superintendent, the security director, the assistant superintendent of operations, the chief IT officer, principals from Edison High School and J.P. Stevens High School, and Board of Education members.

Furthermore, the Board of Education awarded a $152,759 contract to Turn-Key Technologies for the purchase and installation of vape detectors and Edison High and J.P. Stevens.

According to Turn-Key’s website, the HALO Smart Sensor by Avigilon can detect “vape-specific indicators” and THC (a component of marijuana). The company says it can also monitor for shouting that may indicate a fight or call for help, gunshots, vandalism, trespassing, fires, chemicals, gases, and infectious diseases.

“Student safety, as well as awareness of these pieces, are something that not only our staff communicate but our building leadership as well,” said Superintendent Dr. Edward Aldarelli in response to former BOE member Jerry Shi’s public comments. “One of the things we do is we increase supervision in the areas that are a little bit less structured, usually the restrooms.”

“It’s a multiple prong approach in that it’s education, it’s supervision, and providing the right infrastructure to make sure that we’re sending the right message to our kids and our community.”

The Board of Education additionally approved a resolution to oppose an ordinance by the Township Council to expand the zones in which cannabis establishments would be permitted in Edison.

“Members of the Edison Township Board of Education are opposed to the current ordinance proposed by the Township Council as it would impact our schools and ask the council to withdraw this ordinance,” read the language proposed by Patel.

The ordinance was unanimously defeated at the Township Council meeting the day after the BOE meeting.