Montclair BOE Meeting: All About Those Lights, ‘Bout Those Lights

student results

Last night’s Montclair BOE meeting covered the results from the Montclair Public Schools District Climate Survey Results (pictured above) as well as a discussion about GAFE (Google Apps For Education), but there was one topic that dominated the meeting, especially in terms of the public commenting period, and it was the use of temporary lights at Woodman Field last Thursday, during a first-ever night game for Montclair football, a move that some residents living in the area of the field vehemently opposed.

Prior to the start of the public comment period, the BOE’s David Deutsch stated that the game was moved to Thursday night because it was originally scheduled for Yom Kippur. He also added that the decision to hold game at night was supported by BOE as a one-time decision and that any future decisions about night games would involve the community. He added that the BOE would not make a decision about permanent lights at any field in Montclair before consulting the public first.

Then, one by one, speakers came to the podium to discuss the use of lights at a historic night game last Thursday night. Some were in support of the lights and others against.

Montclair BOE Meeting: All About Those Lights, 'Bout Those LightsThose who made an argument for the lights, described the histroic night game as an amazing experience. “As I sat in the stands, between band and students, it was a great experience to see the community coming together,” said Peter, a resident from Midland Ave.”

Will Young, president of the Montclair Cobras junior football league, said the one thing Montclair is missing that other communities have is Friday Night Lights. Another speaker, for the Gridiron Club, said the lights are not just for football, but would enable other sports teams to have safer practices. Robert Bigel shared how kids board a bus and go to Montclair State to practice because there are no lights.

“Montclair plays games 4-5 home games a year, and not all are at night,” said James Eason, adding, “but we need lights for practice.”

Many pro-light speakers also cited the argument that residents complaining about lights chose to buy houses near a playing field.

Many of the residents who spoke out to oppose lights at Woodman field, said that while they love football and sports (many adding that they have children in sports), communication about the night game was poor and notice was not given to residents until a day before the game.

Brad Harsh, who voiced opposition to the installation of any permanent lights at Woodman, said there were incidents of kids setting off fireworks, trespassing across properties, jumping over fences and an instance of urinating on a lawn. “Teens behave differently at night and the police couldn’t stop it,” said Harsh.

What do you think? Vote in our poll.

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  1. Parents take note: Google has done data mining of students using their GAFE software:

    Also of concern: MacCormack has refused to explain how she’ll safeguard our childrens’ confidential/personal online information and PARCC testing data. This is troubling because she’s been associated with data breaches both here in Montclair and in her work at the NJDOE, and she’s boldly stated that she “doesn’t intend to be the Fort Knox” for data security during her term as our schools superintendent.

    NJDOE data breach –

    Montclair assessment breach, which was the result of MacCormack not authorizing proper protections for a district server –

    Fort Knox reference –

  2. I voted Let There be Light. I definitely sympathize as a parent who knows what a difference a late bedtime can do to the next morning. It IS only once a week a few times a season though. I think we can tough it out.

  3. More, from a search:

    “While Joel Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham University and Princeton University, called Google’s measure “a positive step,” in an interview he identified two “significant problems” with it: Google can change this policy at any time, and, the scanning disclaimer is associated with advertising purposes only. “There may be other commercial uses that they are exploiting student data for,” he said, such as selling information to textbook publishers, or test-preparation services.

    Ed Week has nothing to say about lights on Woodman field, however.

  4. Here’s the problem, thinking4myself: we have a superintendent who doesn’t take data protection seriously. She has a history of problems with data breaches, including her improper protection of our district server which resulted in the leak of last year’s assessment tests. This resulted in…

    – massive wasted expense (including a $130K+ legal bill)
    – horrible press for the district in local, regional, and national news outlets
    – tremendous distress among parents and teachers
    – an unnecessary harassing subpoena campaign that was meant to intimidate the critics of the board and MacCormack
    – a culture of fear/reprisals that still exists today

    To top this all off, she uttered her famous line that dismissed the idea of data protection, saying that she didn’t intend to make our district Fort Knox. This should be a warning light to parents, and no matter what MacCormack says to the contrary in an effort to communicate that everything’s under control, her actions contradict her words.

    Now we have a situation where Google has been caught data mining students’ personal info and commercializing it. Have they stopped? Yes, for the moment. But the idea that MacCormack didn’t do her due diligence about this scenario, or maybe she did and figured nobody would notice, is really worrisome.

    She and her p.r. guru will likely release a statement that she’ll do her utmost to protect our kids data, but again: we know and we all see that she has neither the interest nor the ability to do this in an “effective” manner.

  5. This Fort Knox statement seems fine to me. The quote, from the link @assessmentgate kindly provided is: “”I don’t intend to be the Fort Knox for security,” MacCormack said. Teachers need access to the assessments in order to plan their lessons, align units of study to them and to help the district by providing feedback, she said. “I’m not going to turn around and have them be hidden from teachers.””

    Ms MacCormack was not dismissing the idea of data protection. The context of this statement is that teachers should have access to these assessments. Who would argue with this?

  6. Townie. The real problem is….our Superintendent has a history with security leaks. Who took the fall for the assessments getting out? To me it seems like the taxpayers of Montclair did. Why? Because not only did that breach cost a bunch of money, but she still got a big bonus after the fact. Who are the fools now?

  7. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that the huge takeaway from the BOE meeting on Monday was that people were either in favor of or against the night game on Thursday. This is just tremendous.

    So glad the parents/townsfolk are really thrilled with a superintendent and BOE who have have legitimately done nothing to improve the schools in Montclair and have wasted dollar after dollar after dollar. How bout those “merit pay” bonuses!!!!! Can’t wait for when the BOE claims poverty again.

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