Asbury Park High School Student Brings Loaded Gun to School; Community and Staff Kept in the Dark.

I have a scoop that I wish I didn’t have, courtesy of three anonymous sources, all staff members at Asbury Park Public Schools. An Asbury Park High School student brought a loaded gun to school. One source said this happened for three consecutive days; another said it was one day. This student sat through classes with the loaded gun until another student told Principal Kathy Baumgardner (photo above). 

Asbury Park High School has metal detectors that all students go through when entering the building. I have no information about how the student got into the school with the loaded gun.

According to my sources, the response from the Administration was “very secretive.” No lock-down was called, although the police were summoned and the student was escorted out of the building. No teachers were notified, despite the fact that there was an afterschool staff meeting that day, and I’m told the Asbury Park community is unaware of this incident.

I’ve also been told Superintendent Sasha Gray was “unavailable” during this incident.

Principal Baumgardner has been suspended. Apparently Kristie Howard, Director of Student Services, is serving as Acting Principal. There is no public information on the nature of the suspension: Whether it is with or without pay, whether it is permanent, and what the reason is for the suspension. 

According to the “School Climate” portion of Asbury Park High School’s School Performance Report, last year there were no police notifications, although there were 22 incidents of violence, two involving weapons. This information is self-reported by the district.

In other Asbury Park news, the new configuration of district schools (see here for details on declining enrollment) will be two elementary schools serving students K-3 and a middle school grades for grades 4-6; the high school will serve students grades 7-12. Teachers are concerned, according to sources, that there is no plan in place, or at least none they’re aware of. Parent are concerned about putting 12-year-olds in the same building as 18-year-olds. Both teachers and parents are being ignored by administrators.

Finally (I promise I will report if I hear any good news about Asbury Park!) there is a concern among special education teachers about the lack of progress of students with disabilities. Some number of these students can’t read but Child Study Teams and case managers have been told that they should not inform parents.

What do you think?

4 Comments

  1. Avatar Windsor J LEVEILLE

    Let me say at the outset that I have no interest in writing this other than seeking justice. I m not affiliated with Dr. Baumgardner, APHS or anything else that has to do with the Asbury Park School District. I am simply a pissed off resident who knows that someone has been wronged and that IF no one else is going to call it out, I AM! I am well aware that to some people this will be construed as being a tirade, but for some context I’m providing this link https://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/who-we-are/5-principles-of-journalism linking an article from the Ethical Journalism Network in which they the five core principles of Journalism. After reading the five core principles, one has to wonder IF everyone in the field are really cut out for it, or IF Freedom of the Press has unintentionally left it open for virtually anyone to disseminate news. I say this because some people are just not actually doing the leg work of investigating every aspect of a situation before putting out anything meant as news. On the contrary, some people like some Bloggers and even Journalist are simply putting out snippets of information that are at times riddled with nothing but misinformation or simply parroting something that they heard.
    By no means am I trying to say that Bloggers are not a real outlet of people getting the news or that every Blogger does this, because I know that some of them take this craft seriously and go through great lengths to make sure that they are putting out only things that are factual or at least have a high level of certainty. For the purpose of vocalizing what I feel, I’m going to solely concentrate on the recent situation at Asbury Park High School in which a yet unnamed student is alleged to have brought a loaded gun to school and successfully getting it in despite metal detectors being in place. The situation ultimately ended calmly and without any harm being done to anyone. However, the Super Intendment Sancha Gray has chosen to use Dr. Baumgardner as a scapegoat although she gave a statement to Asbury Park Press stating that the matter was still under investigation despite all reporting by current and former students concludes that she is HIGHLY QUALIFIED & EFFEICIENT as Asbury Park High School’s Principal.
    So as that as a backdrop let’s get to the part that pissed me off. A Blogger by the name of Laura Waters, who’s website claims that she is here to provide “the real scoop on public schools in the Garden State,” but yet in this situation she fell quite short of doing that. From the article’s title, you would be fooled into thinking that Dr. Baumgardner had been derelict of her duties by failing to report the matter, but the article doesn’t provide you with the information on how according to even the districts own policies, that Dr. Baumgardner was ONLY responsible of informing law enforcement and Sancha Gray. I do give her credit for stating that Sancha Gray was not available for the situation to have been reported to her to begin with and that there were in fact metal detectors and that she didn’t know how the student got passed them; but she fails horribly at stating anything that’s factual that had not already been public knowledge.
    IF, Ms. Water’s real intentions had been to provide real news based on INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM she would have made sure that her sources were giving the same information rather than contradicting one another, she would have contacted Sancha Gray for a statement in reference to the suspension, she would have contacted the Asbury Park Police Department to get even the most basic statement as the Asbury Park Press accurately did for their reporting. At least from my perspective and I’m sure that the mass majority will agree with me, that this article by Ms. Laura Waters can’t even be taken seriously because the very first core tenets of investigative journalism is that you have to make sure that what you write is the truth and is very accurate.
    Because she failed to fully investigate, vet and corroborate what was said by her sources and the fact that she did not seek any independent information from outside sources such as Sancha Gray or APPD, I have to come to the conclusion that this article is nothing but a virtual hit piece. It is very clear that her intent was not to put out factual information to the general public because they deserved nothing less, but simply for what seems to be an act to increase her viewership by putting out what seemed to be a sensational story. I am not by far anywhere close to being a journalist, but I know that when I become aware of a situation I gather all the available facts and that I strongly feel with a high certainty of accuracy before I go disseminating that information to anyone else. A fifth grader’s book report would contain more information and site sources that weren’t contradicting in themselves, but I guess that Ms. Laura Waters IS NO smarter than a 5th grader?
    Admittedly, since I am not one of her followers I don’t know for sure what her reputation is and I don’t know of the general accuracy of her blogs, but in this specific article Ms. Waters failed miserably to show that she 1) was providing truthful and accurate information 2) was writing the article from an independent view and not one leaning towards any other interest aside from putting out vetted news 3) failed to display any sort of fairness and impartiality with a basically one sided article 4) lacked humanity in the article as it paints Dr. Baumgardner in a negative light which tarnishes her reputation by failing to list her achievements and making it clear that this was an isolated incident rather than a pattern of behavior from Dr. Baumgardner 5) and more importantly, Ms. Waters was not accountable to herself let alone anyone who read that article by quickly putting out a retraction of her initial article after having gone back to fully research the situation.
    As previously stated, I am not a follower of Ms. Waters so therefore I don’t know her, and it’s not my job to know her because I’m not in a position where I would need to know her. I don’t know how long she has been blogging, but I know that Dr. Baumgardner has been an educator for decades and has only rose up in titles. And although I have never met her personally but it baffles me as to why a person who has risen in position as Dr. Baumgardner has over the years without prior reprimand or known as a person who fails to perform her duties by every letter of the book, would all the sudden throw all of that out of the window by only doing half of her job as it relates to this situation. Freedom of Speech does allow us to be able to say whatever we want Freedom of the Press does allow the press to be able to write freely and put out sound news that is truthful, but when those freedoms are used for unintended and nefarious reasons then it is a greater Injustice then it is a Justice and deprives it’s victim the freedom to live a life that scrutinized adversely because of false or half baked information.
    Having failed to maintain the core tenets of journalism, Ms. Waters needs to hastingly issue a retraction and replace it one that is thoroughly vetted and issue a separate article offer up an apology specifically stating that she had not done any investigative work before putting together her blog and that she is sincerely sorry for at least in appearance making Dr. Baumgardner sound like a person who was being a derelict of her duties. This apology should not only be directed to the staff & faculty as well as students, parents and the community-at-large, but it should be directed to Dr. Baumgardner asking her for forgiveness for having written an article based on hearsay rather than investigative journalism. Furthermore, whether now or after the suspension has been lifted Ms. Waters needs to personally attempt to reach out to Dr. Baumgardner for a statement on the incident so that there’ll be a first-hand account of what actually transpired that day.
    I don’t know IF Ms. Waters has ever been in a setting where Dr. Baumgardner has played any part of her education, but even without having personally met her, I know for a fact that had Ms. Waters ever had Dr. Baumgardner as an educator in any capacity, she would have been able to write a better article because what she had learned from Dr. Baumgardner’s teachings and examples would have demanded and guided her to write an article that was based on the highest level of integrity.

  2. Pingback: Asbury Park Sources Clarify Loaded Gun Incident - NJ Left Behind

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