Jersey City BOE president clears audience completely after woman refuses removal


Jersey City Board of Education President Dejon Morris cleared the audience completely after a woman refused to be removed at Wednesday’s meeting.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I’m sorry, security, do me a favor: just clear the room. The entire room. The entire room. Everybody’s to go. That includes Ms. [Elizabeth] Perry. If you fail to leave after I’ve asked you to be removed, that’s called defiant trespass, that’s a warning,” Morris said towards the tail end of an over five-hour meeting.

“Because I said so. Now get these people out of here so we can finish the meeting without interruption. Again, clear the room.”

Morris then asked if the board needed to read the preamble again, to which Perry, who has a gender discrimination lawsuit against the district, shouted back that he should read it.

Nonetheless, the meeting essentially came to a halt as audience members remained at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, also known as Public School No. 11, located at 886 Bergen Ave.

“I can’t be staying here all night,” Trustee Christopher Tisdale can be overheard telling his colleagues as the situation had been going on for about five minutes.

“The room was ordered to be cleared. If she refuses, you know what the next course is. I don’t know why we’re negotiating. Rules and regulations, policies and procedures are put in place for a reason, ” Morris said as Perry demanded to be given a reason for her removal.

Board Counsel Ramon Rivera eventually read the preamble again, which indicates that the board president could ask for audience members to be removed by police if they are continually causing a disturbance.

“The preamble has been read for the second time. You have been asked to leave, now you are defiantly trespassing and we’re asking you to leave. Officers, look I’m not gonna go back and forth with you, you will remove her now … or place her under arrest. I don’t know why I have to tell you how to do your jobs,” Morris, a Jersey City police detective, said.

At least one of Morris’ colleagues were not impressed with the way the situation was being handled.

“She has every right to be upset. You cleared the room because one person had an outburst. Now we have a disruption because of this,” stated Trustee Younass Barkouch.

Morris ignored him and asked for the police officers to call a supervisor to the scene if needed, but this type of disruption would not be tolerated.

“She’s not leaving. She’s not leaving. Who made him the king?” another woman yelled out.

The board president expressed dissatisfaction with the process being drawn out as long as it was, claiming that this would not happen at a Jersey City Council or Hudson County Board of Commissioners meeting.

After the situation remained at a stalemate for over 10 minutes, Morris began to lose his cool.

“This is to the security and the police officers who are here: She has been asked to leave this premise. She is disrupting this meeting and she has already threatened board members! If she is refusing to leave, she needs to be placed under arrest and removed out of the building now!”

“This is non-negotiable, this is why we have the preamble in place! If the public is refusing to abide by the directive of this meeting, they will be held accountable! Officer, remove her from the meeting!”

Barkouch said that Morris’ attempt to avoid a disruption created a larger disruption, to which Morris said multiple disruptions occurred before brushing him off and continuing the meeting after about 13 minutes.

Morris said at the time that Perry was arrested, but today she told HCV over the phone that was not the case.

“This type of behavior continues to happen in the district because Dejon Morris knows nothing about the history of the administration,” she said.

The meeting had attracted some local interest since the board reviewed a 319-page financial audit that said mismanaged accounts led to a net loss of over $2.4 million, that vendors were overpaid, and that board contracts weren’t shared with the county and state.

The audit presented 17 red flags, compared to 23 last year, and several school officials blamed former Business Administrator Dr. Regina Robinson for the financial disaster, who is on administrative leave and is suing the district.

“The Business Administrator regularly failed to submit the treasurer and secretary reports or certify the funds on a regular basis. The BA’s mismanagement forced JCPS to pay millions of dollars in fines and unnecessary expenses,”  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Norma Fernandez asserted in a letter while pursuing tenure charges in March.

While that vote failed, they voted this month to present 42 tenure charges to the New Jersey Department of Education, likely in anticipation of the audit’s findings.

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  1. Since the election of Dejon Morris to the BOE, it seems like every meeting has had some sort of issue. Perhaps he should stop treating this job and the people of Jersey City the same way he treats his job and responsibilities as a police officer.