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January 31st, 2015 - Civil Rights Update
Hello Everyone! I am back with a quick update regarding the civil rights dispute with Toms River Regional Schools. If you aren't aware of the issue - the district wouldn't grant me permission to hand out a flyer and NJEA "Test's Don't Teach" pins during lunch time, in a non-disruptive manner. In the end, I was permitted to hand out both my flyers and pins. On the 23rd, I was pulled out of my eighth period mathematics class to talk to Mr. Ricotta, High School South's Principal. He informed me that he met with the central administration (Mr. David Healy), and that they were permitting me to distribute the material. Without incident, I passed out roughly 100 pins and flyers last Thursday and Friday during lunch times. The interest is definitely growing, and many of my peers want further information on refusing the PARCC. I will continue to distribute the content both on school grounds and off. My family and I would like to thank the community and the legal organizations we were working closely with to get this issue resolved. If you haven't already, check out my website where I answer some frequent questions and give information on refusing the PARCC.
Thank you again,
January 16th, 2015 - Civil Rights Dispute with Toms River Regional Schools
Hello everyone! I am back with some interesting news. This past week has been pretty crazy. If you don't know me, I am a freshman at Toms River High School South. I have been fighting against the Common Core and PARCC exam for a few months now. Recently, I designed flyers about the PARCC and was sent roughly 100 pins from the NJEA stating "Tests Don't Teach." It became my goal to hand these out during school in a non-disruptive manner, specifically during lunch times. On Friday, January 16th, 2015, I gave Mr. Ricotta, High School South's principal, a copy of both the flyer and a pin to review. The First Amendment, which includes freedom of speech and expression, in schools are protected under the ruling of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District and Hedges v. Wauconda Community School District. Mr. Ricotta informed me that I was not permitted to hand out my content next week. My father promptly called the Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education and was told that the assistant superintendent would have to review and accept my material. The district doesn't appear to be willing to speak with us. I attempted to talk to Mr. Ricotta during the morning and later in the school day and wasn't allowed to speak with him or make an appointment. If we hand out the content, we fear that I could face possible disciplinary action including suspension and possible expulsion. I plan to, or have already, contacted SPAN, the NJ ACLU, United Nations, US Department of Justice, US Department of Education (Office for Civil Rights), the NJ Attorney General - Division for Civil Rights, and First Amendment Schools tonight in hopes to fight this unconstitutional ruling. I would like for the public to be aware of this situation and blatant ignorance from my school district. I will not be censored. Until I am contacted with a follow-up from one of the organizations I contacted, I am offering a free download of my flyer on my website ( http://cc.jacobhartmann.me/downloads.html ) and will be distributing the pins off school grounds. In addition, we are waiting for an explanation from the district on why they are censoring the material, and I will be speaking on the January 20th Toms River Board of Education meeting about the Common Core and my recent experiences regarding this civil rights violation. I strongly urge everyone to contact Toms River Regional Schools and express your concerns about the Common Core, PARCC, and student rights. Thank you all for your support, I wouldn't be here without you all!