UPDATED: JC school district: ‘Bogus accounts’ may be responsible for PS 34 email controversy

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Maryann Dickar, the chief of staff to Jersey City Superintendent of Schools Marcia Lyles, has elaborated on the PS 34 email scandal in an email sent to Hudson County View.

Jersey City Public Schools District

The Jersey City Public School District is blaming an inflammatory message from the email address of a PS 34 teacher on “phantom emails” from “bogus accounts” that have allegedly plagued the school system for over a year.

After Hudson County View first reported about an email linked to a teacher at Jersey City’s PS 34 referring to pupils as “future drug dealers and criminals,” Dickar said that Jersey City Public Schools have a problem with “phantom emails.”

“For over a year there have been problems with phantom emails being sent from Jersey City Public School accounts,” Dickar said in a prepared statement regarding an email between teachers at PS 34.

Dickar also added that the teacher at the center of the controversy, Lynn Zahn, “has vigorously denied sending these emails from the time she first became aware of it last year.”

The claim of “phantom emails” is not something new, as Jersey City Education Association President Ronnie Greco brought up the issue at the February 19, 2015 Jersey City Board of Education meeting.

Dickar told Hudson County View late this afternoon that both the Jersey City Police Department and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office were notified of the situation last year – which she noted was reported at the time.

Additionally, Lyles told NJ.com that two PS 34 teachers were involuntarily transferred, with it being implied that it was the teachers involved in the email conflict who were transferred, but it was not stated outright.

In the same article, Dickar said the district felt Zahn was being “publicly humiliated” for emails she may not have written, which is why a statement to the press was issued last night.

Dickar also told Hudson County View this afternoon that consultants have been brought in to help correct the situation, but is unsure when the situation will be resolved. She also noted that Google is the server used for the Jersey City Board of Education email.

Editor’s Note: Hudson County View has multiple emails and text messages that pertain to the controversy at PS 34, which may or may not be published at a later date to try to clarify this story as it develops.