Lakewood , NJ – A local frum school board candidate was ceremoniously escorted off of a local public school campus, twice last week, by Lakewood Police Department officers.
On Thursday, Boruch Blaustein, a Chicago native who now lives in Lakewood and is a yungerman at Beth Medrash Govoha, attempted to visit the Clifton Avenue Grade School, a public school located at Clifton Avenue and Sixth Street, and was asked to leave the school.
Mr. Blaustein explained that he was there legally and could not be forced off the premises. This information was passed through dispatch by Chief of Police Rob Lawson. Officer Gary Przewoznik was advised that if Mr. Blaustein refused to vacate the premises, Mr. Blaustein was to be placed under arrest for trespassing. The school principal told Mr. Blaustein that he could not do a walk-through of the school at that time. According to a police report, “the principal was attempting to explain to him that he was in the middle of dealing with a crisis with one of the students and it was not a good time.”
Furthermore, the police report states, Officer Przewoznik “explained to Mr. Blaustein that if the principal said he must leave the building, then he has to go.”
At that point, Mr. Blaustein told the officer that he had spoken to Board of Education attorney Michael Inzelbuch, who said that he has a right to walk through the school. Mr. Blaustein also presented a visitor’s pass he had received, allowing him to walk through the school.
Mr. Blaustein said he would call down the media to document the fact that he was being sent off the grounds of a public school without reason. The police officer said that he “was not afraid of him” and that he would place him under arrest by order of the Chief of Police for trespassing on school property. Finally, Mr. Blaustein was escorted off the school property.
The incident was recorded by the mobile video equipment of police car #3380.
On Friday, Mr. Blaustein went to visit the Ella G. Clarke Public School. Mr. Blaustein signed into the visitor log and, when approached by police officers who were called to the school, explained that he was running for the local school board and had spoken to the school board attorney who told Mr. Blaustein that he could do a walk-through of the school.
However, the school principal would not permit Mr. Blaustein to enter the school during learning hours because Mr. Blaustein is not a parent of a child in the school, and, according to police, because “he was not familiar with his intentions.” Present at the scene were four officers, Patrolman Robert Smith, Patrolman Robert Meyer, Patrolwoman Susan Mannik and Patrolman Chase Messer.
Mr. Blaustein had, in the interim, spoken to an additional Lakewood attorney, who, like Mr. Inzelbuch, stated that it was completely legal for him – or anyone else for that matter – to visit a local public school during school hours to view the grounds and the school building. In addition, Mr. Blaustein had made it clear that his visit was related to his candidacy for the school board, whose elections will take place on Isru Chag, April 27.
Mr. Blaustein, during a visit to Police Headquarters on Third Street, requested a copy of the video of Thursday’s incident, but was told that there is a $75 charge per video. When Mr. Blaustein later returned with the money, he was told by an officer that, in that short interim, the case had been placed under internal review and that the video could not be released.