NBC10.com - Ted Greenberg
Vineland Police cause a stir by posting the arrest of some teenagers online. NBC10's Ted Greenberg reports.
Vineland Police are creating some controversy by posting all arrests by local students, online.
Officials say they started posting all Vineland school arrests on Facebook and a website used for public alerts in the fall, for transparency reasons. The policy is now receiving more attention because of the 48 arrests at Vineland schools in January. That is the highest number in months, according to investigators.
The majority of the arrests were posted online with the exception being cases that are still under investigation, according to police.
Dr. Mary Gruccio, Superintendent of Vineland Public Schools, put out a statement that appears to support the public postings:
Our priority is maintaining a safe environment in all our schools for students and staff. Our security staff works closely with the Vineland Police Juvenile Unit on a daily basis. Disciplinary matters in our schools, including arrests, are based on the situation at hand and are addressed on a case by case basis. The Attorney General's Memorandum of Agreement (between law enforcement and education) has guidelines that dictate mandatory crimes that must be reported to the police. We also have a safety committee that meets regularly with the Police and Security to discuss strategies and address safety issues.
The decision has sparked a mixed reaction.
"I actually agree with that," said Alexander McStravick, a parent of a Vineland student.
"I don't think that should be public for other people to be aware of," said Christine Higman, another parent.
Police tell NBC10 around 95% of the arrests posted online are reported to them by the school district. Students 18 and older are identified in the postings.
Vineland Police Captain Rudy Beu hopes the postings serve as a deterrent.
"The average child is going to be embarrassed by it, even though their name is not released. But deep down inside they know it's them."