According to the GallowayTownshipNews, John J. Gibson, the principal of two Atlantic County schools, the Arthur Rann Elementary School and the Pomona Preschool, has been out on paid leave since January 30, 2014.  A February 20, 2014 letter from the school superintendent Annette C. Giaquinto to parents, obtained by Galloway Township News and on-line here, states that “because this leave is of a confidential nature, I am not able to provide you with any other information at this time.”

Acting on a tip that Gibson’s leave might somehow be connected to an incident in Ocean County, I sent an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office (OCPO) on April 16, 2014 and have placed correspondence between me and the OCPO on-line here.  In his April 29, 2014 response, Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Monaco referred to the alleged incident as having “occurred in Little Egg Harbor Township” even though my OPRA request did not specify the municipality in which the incident allegedly occurred.  Mr. Monaco’s response went on to note that a “detective [has] investigated this incident but has not yet completed his report.”

On April 29, 2014, I submitted another OPRA request to the Monaco for “[a]ll documents that are in the file that the detective is working on to create his report, as referenced in [Monaco’s] April 29, 2014 e-mail.”  On May 2, 2014, I received Monaco’s response, which he copied to Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor Pamela D’Arcy, in which Monaco advised me that he “cannot release a the contents of this file without a protective order” having been issued by the court.

Monaco’s correspondence, which confirms the existence of a file related to Gibson that a detective is working on, together with Gibson abruptly taking a leave of absence from his position as principal, strongly suggests that some incident involving him is under investigation and that this incident or the investigation is connected to his reasons for taking his leave.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]