We have interviewed multiple parents from the Northfield, New Jersey Community School.

They are concerned about an incident that took place on school property, on June 3, 2022, at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Northfield Superintendent of Public Schools, Pedro P. Bretones described the individual as “a partially dressed adult male in the bushes on Cedarbridge Rd."

Multiple parents have advised that the man was only dressed in his underwear and that he was located directly nearby the window of a Northfield Community School classroom.

Parents are concerned that Bretones is being vague about the actual location of the man, so as not to place him as close to the school as they contend that he was.

To date, Bretones has written two emails to parents on June 9, 2022 and a follow-up on June 23, 2022.

The parents that we have spoken with, believe that the emails fall short of a complete and accurate accounting of what actually happened.

Observers at the recent Board of Education meeting described a lack of sense of urgency and a lack of empathy for concerned parents, who are deeply troubled by this incident; especially in the current heightened atmosphere in America, today regarding violent school incidents.

I have obtained complete copies of both emails about this incident written by Bretones.

Both letters are highly professional and empathetic in nature.

The June 9 and 23, 2022 emails from Bretones are addressed to “Dear Northfield Families.”

Bretones advised in the first email that “the individual apologized, said he was changing his wet clothes, and left without incident.”

Bretones also confirms that they contacted the Northfield Police Department to report the incident. They provided the Northfield Police Department with a description of the man. The Northfield Police advised that they would keep the Northfield Community School apprised as needed.

On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, the Northfield Community School received confirmation that this same man was involved in other incidents in neighboring towns.

Bretones ends the June 8, 2022 email with:

“This communication is greatly appreciated and needed as we continue to work together to do everything possible to ensure everyone's safety to the greatest extent possible."

The first email did not calm the parents' concerns, necessitating the Bretones follow-up communication two weeks later on June 23, 2022.

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The following information was known at the time of the first email on June 8, 2022, but, was not included.

In the second email, on June 23, 2022, Bretones recaps much of the first email's contents, but, added something new:

Our principal, along with a guidance counselor, a secretary, and another staff member looked out of the
elementary school entrance doors to verify if the person
was still in the bushes. The door is approximately 50-60 yards away from the bushes and no one left the doorway. Upon seeing that the person was still there, he was told he had to leave.

Bretones confirms that the man left towards New Road without further incident. He wrote that the entire incident was less than one minute long.

Bretones concluded the second letter by saying:

I apologize for any and all worries that our families
have experienced with this situation, but please know that we take the safety of our students and staff very seriously. Because of this, we have reflected on the entire incident and analyzed our responses during and after the incident. This reflection led us to move the bike racks further away from the perimeter of the school grounds, increase collaboration with the NPD, and review the emergency drills that we practice each month throughout the school year.

The parents that we have spoken to are not satisfied and believe that the district was attempting to downplay the significance of the incident.

SOURCES: Northfield Community School Parents and two emails written by Pedro Bretones, Northfield Superintendent of Public Schools.

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