Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Revise Bullying Laws & Ensure Racial Equality to Gov Christie in Public Meeting


12 yrs old Sumit Gandhi a Hindu, request New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to ensure Racial Equality & Equal Rights with Jews & Christians of his town and Changes in HIB/Bullying Policy for Elementary & Middle School Students in a Public Meeting on December 21, 2011 in Spotswood NJ.


Good Afternoon to Governor Christie and every one present here. My name is Sumit Gandhi and I am 12 yrs old. Recently in a similar public meeting the Governor advised Zack Martini a sixth grader from my School about how to win in School elections. Unfortunately Zack still lost the election. Since only the Governor has the solution to my problem that’s why I am here. I did sent a letter to you Sir with a request for personal meeting.  I know that you are a very busy person for that reason I have traveled all the way from Springfield to meet you here in Spotswood by taking a day off from my school.

“With due respect to the Governor and every one present here, I have a question for each one of you. Mike said there will be a special bus taking Joshua home later and asked “Right Sumit” Sumit is my first name”. All I said was “Yeah there is” and I walked away from the scene. Both Mike and Joshua are not my friends I do not socialize with them at all. With Joshua I have Spanish and with Mike I have Spanish and Band as common classes. Accidentally I was with them for less than Three minutes. I request the Governor to tell me if this was bullying by me? Please Sir answer with your yes or no only and if you don’t want to answer Sir please say so. After that only I will tell you Sir what my School Supervisor has to say about this.

My Supervisor Michael Plias says I have done bullying and he forced me to write I bullied Joshua to be funny and cool. For Mike Mr. Plias is saying Mike realized after speaking with him that what Mike said to Joshua was wrong. If I have done bullying according to Mr. Plias how come Mike who made the actual comment and initiated the incident has not done bullying? Just because he is Christian he has not done bullying and myself being a Hindu has done bullying by saying “Yeah there is” to Joshua from Jewish community that controls the township of Springfield and its School Board.

Again I really would like to know from the Governor and every adult sitting in this room, “how Student 3 myself should have behaved in that unintentional unplanned accidental Two to Three minutes encounter with Mike and Joshua or for that matter how any 12 year old is supposed to behave in such a situation?

Since November 17 I am scared to go to school and I could not sleep at night Just because I am a Hindu and I am different than the majority Jews and Christians of my town; I can be accused of things which I may not have committed. I am not an adult and do not understand legal matters. My humble request to the Governor is please protect my rights for being a Hindu. Please ensure Racial Equality and Equal Rights for me in my School. Further I request the Governor to ensure that no Michael Plias can force a Surya from Hindu community to write contrary to what actually happened. No Michael Plias should be able to shield a Mike accused of wrong doing just because Mike happens to be a Jew or Christian. Mr. Michael Plias has damaged my self esteem and shattered my trust in my School where every one is supposed to be equal. Thank you for listening to me Sir.

This is for the Media please stop discriminating me for being a Hindu. I respect and honor that America is a Christian nation but at the same time it is a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Hindu nation and a nation of non believers also. Thank You.

Sumit Gandhi Grade 7TH  FMG Middle School  Springfield, NJ 07081

Hand written letter sent to Governor/Chief Minister Chris Christie by Sumit Gandhi on Dec. 8, 2011
(REPROUCTION) (names of students have been changed)

Dear Governor Christie,
I know that you are a very busy man, but I only have two questions for you. Mike told Joshua that he will be going home on a special bus. Then Mike said, “Right Surya” All I said was yeah there is. If what Mike said was just wrong comment; then how is my comment bullying? According to my Supervisor Mr. Plias it is and forced me to write that I have done bullying. Why didn’t he ever tell Mike that his comment is more than Bullying? I am also very disturbed that Mr. Plias forced me to write that I did this to be funny and cool. The day this incident happened I did not have any time to even think about what happened, how it happened, and what will be the consequences. It never occurred to me that I said yeah there is to be funny and cool. Why didn’t Mr. Plias make Mike write all this, what he forced me to write? He only made Mike write that he was goofing off and after talking to Mr. Plias he realized what he said was a wrong comment. Why did Mr. Plias force me to write things which he knew that he is going to use against me only? Was it because I’m not Christian or Jewish and Mike is? Is it because of my race, religion and skin color? What Mr. Plias did, crushed the trust between a student and a supervisor. Thank you very much and I hope I can meet you and discuss this incident with you.
My cell phone number: xxx-xxx-xxxx
My Home Phone Number: xxx xxx xxxx
My Email Address: xxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxx.com
Sumit Gandhi

“The New Jersey media especially the Jewish media was reprehensible. They were disappointing. It is reprehensible that those kinds of personal and crude attacks could be leveled at someone like this young 12 year old Middle school student who was simply expressing his opinion on a matter of public policy and doing it with a great deal of poise.”

“He was respectful, sincere, and spoke with conviction with Governor Christie. He provided a model of civil discourse,” “And yet, some of those who disagreed with his position – especially the Jewish Media and commentators throughout the blogosphere – responded with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of this student on the issue of racial equality and changes in the existing Anti-Bullying Laws.”
North American News Line The Indian EXPRESS
PAGE 11 AND 13
Harvard, Princeton face racial bias charges, similar situation prevails in schools
12-year-old boy in a New Jersey school reignites debate on discrimination
Springfield Student Demands Gov. Christie to Change Bullying Law

The U.S. Education Department is probing complaints that Harvard University and Princeton University discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions.

Boy says he was accused of bullying a Jewish student because he was Hindu.
Springfield Patch

Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying Definition from NJSA: 18A:37-14:
"Harassment, intimidation or bullying" means any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it be a single incident or a series of incidents, that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory disability, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, on a school bus, or off school grounds as provided for in section 16 of P.L.2010, c.122 (C.18A:37-15.3), that substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the school or the rights of other students and that:
(A)   a reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of physically or emotionally harming a student or damaging the student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or damage to his property;
(B)     has the effect of  insulting or demeaning any student or group of students; or
(C)    creates a hostile educational environment for the student by interfering with a student's education or by severely or pervasively causing physical or emotional harm to the student.

L.2002, c.83, s.2; amended 2007, c.129, s.1; 2010, c.122, s.11.

The Springfield Anti-Bullying Policy Is Subject to Constitutional Challenges On the Grounds of Overbroad & Vague Statutory Language Attorney Lennox Hinds

Federal constitutional law provides that a regulation is unconstitutionally vague, and thus a violation of due process, if it does not give fair notice of the regulation's reach and requires students to guess as to the contours of its proscriptions. Although a school has a certain degree of flexibility in its disciplinary procedures, its regulations may still be found to be unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.  The most common reason for a court to sustain a vague or overbroad challenge of a school policy is when specific terms within the policy are not defined. Specificity of terms is especially important when the policy’s regulations are content-based regulation of speech. 

A plain review of the New Jersey’s anti-bullying law and the Springfield School District’s anti-bullying policy shows that they are susceptible to overbroad and vagueness constitutional challenges. For example, the Policy’s prohibition against harassment, intimidation, and bullying applying to “any gesture, any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication” “that has the effect of insulting or demeaning any pupil or group of pupils” can easily be construed as unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because it seeks to regulate public school students and officials speech and behavior without compass or guidance as to the parameters of the policy. The constitutional prohibitions against vague and overbroad statutory regulations apply to Surya’s case and the FMG policy at issue.

Revise HIB/Bullying Policy to Governor, Senate, Assembly for under 15 yrs old request made on December 15, 2011

Via Facsimile, E-Mail & Regular Mail
REVISED (originally from 5 to 7 demands)
Honorable Gov. Chris Christie, Senator Sweeney and Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver:
I request the Legislatures of New Jersey that: 
1.     There must be age appropriate changes to the HIB policy that has been enforced without due consideration of its repercussions in Elementary and Middle Schools especially to stop its misuse against minorities.
2.     All students must be given age appropriate training about the state HIB/Bullying policy in detail at the start of  every academic year. The training must include consequences of HIB policy violations and expected behavior from each student of that particular Grade.
3.     Every Child must have Miranda Rights that they can not be interrogated in the absence of their parent or attorneys.
4.     The parent must be informed of the incident in writing by Courier as well as other means of communication. Let it be mandatory that the parent of the accused student must contact in person with in 3 School Days of the incident.
5.     The School authorities must wait for the response of the parent of the involved student in person before interrogating or asking any thing to that Student.
6.     The parent must be provided with the preliminary investigation report before it is presented to the Board of Education.
7.     The Confidential Board Meeting must be recorded.

From: Name of the Parent <their e-mail & contact>
To: Gov Chris Christie <officeofthegovernor@gov.state.nj.us>; Senate President Senator Sweeney <SenSweeney@njleg.org>; Speaker of New Jersey Assembly <aswoliver@njleg.org>; Office of Constituent Relations <constituent.relations@gov.state.nj.us>; Director Office of Constituent Relations Jeanne Ashmore <jeanne.ashmore@gov.state.nj.us>
Subject: Revise HIB/Bullying Policy
Dear Sir/Madam,
Based on my recent experience, I have come to realize that current HIB policy leaves a lot to be desired. Its implementation on county level is adhoc at best. The recent incident in FMG Middle School , Springfield , NJ is an eye opener. It has been widely covered since the issue was raised by the 12 year old student with Governor Christie at the Spostwood Town Hall Meeting.

I strongly support changes in the HIB policy to ensure that rights of everyone are protected including the Students involved and the School Board. The current process has a lot of holes and I am afraid that it creates more problems than what it solves.
I request the Legislatures of New Jersey that:
Sumit Gandhi is a merit Honor Roll student since Grade 1 with no incident of insubordination, disrespect to any one or involved in any kind of bad things till this October 15 fabricated incident. October 27, 2011 was his first ever detention for some thing he has not done in 8 years of his student life at Springfield Schools. He is a very quiet kid and has become more quiet and become very disturbed and now he wakes up in the middle of the night. His self esteem has been badly damaged by his Supervisor Michael Plias. He is emotionally and mentally very disturbed and looking for answers why Mr. Plias has treated him differently than Mike who initiated the incident and made the actual comment. He is afraid to go to school that Mr. Plias can do more harm to him.  

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