South Orange-Maplewood Reports Another Delay in CHS Baseball Bullying Probe

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The independent investigation into allegations of bullying in the Columbia High School baseball program has been delayed by a further several weeks, according to an update Supt. Dr. John Ramos provided at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

Initially, the investigator — Dr. Leroy Seitz, interim superintendent of the Parsippany-Troy Hills school district, who was hired by the district on February 26 — was to submit his findings to the administration within a month.

In March, the administration said the investigation was ongoing but Seitz’s findings were expected to be presented to the board in executive (closed) session at this Monday’s meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, Ramos announced the latest delay.

“The HIB investigation has been delayed since the investigator had a personal emergency,” said a district spokeswoman. “We expect interviews to take place next week, and that we will have a report for the Board of Education at their May 12 Executive Session.”

At the February 22 Board of Education meeting when the board voted 6-3 to reappoint the coaches involved in the investigation, Ramos said that his recommendation to retain the coaches for the 2016 season was “qualified by the fact that the investigation into HIB allegations is continuing” and that an investigator would “thoroughly pursue all open-ended cases and…file a report to the Superintendent of Schools…”

On February 26, the district retained Seitz to investigate the allegations because the district said it did not have the capacity to complete the work itself. Seitz was hired at a rate of $125 per hour, not to exceed $5,000.

Parent Randy Nathan, whose son was involved in several of the HIB allegations against the district, told the board that neither he nor the family of David DeFranco, who brought a lawsuit against the district, have been contacted by Seitz. Calling the investigation a “travesty of justice taking place in plain sight,” Nathan asked, “Why all the secrecy? What are you afraid of? Where is your outrage? You’re being deceived and lied to.”

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