Baseball HIB investigation results will not be made public

LeRoy Seitz

MAPLEWOOD / SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Some feathers were recently ruffled when it became known that the results of the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying investigation, conducted by Parsippany-Troy Hills interim Superintendent LeRoy Seitz into the Columbia High School baseball program will not be made public.

Seitz has been hired as an independent professional to conduct the investigation stemming from accusations that the four CHS baseball coaches bully student-athletes. Former player David DeFranco has filed a lawsuit against the district in which he alleges that he was repeatedly bullied by the coaches.

Father Randy Nathan has also been vocal about getting the four coaches — head varsity coach Joe Fischetti, assistant varsity coach Matt Becht, assistant junior varsity coach Sam Maietta and freshman coach Steve Campos — fired, as he alleges that his son, Alex, was bullied as well.

According to district spokeswoman Suzanne Turner, Seitz is expected to present his results to the Board of Education during its executive session April 18.

While the board will learn the results of Seitz’s investigation, the public will not.

“HIB results are never released,” Turner told the News-Record in a March 28 phone interview. “Also, it can’t be released because of student and personnel confidentiality.”

As the investigation results concern personnel, they are not subject to the Open Public Records Act.

Turner said the public will be made aware of any impact of the investigation on the baseball program, though she added that “there’s no reason to think anything will happen to the baseball program.”

But those critical of the school district are displeased that the report will not be made available.

“I wish I could say that I’m surprised by this decision, but I have come to expect nothing more than smoke and mirrors and deception,” Randy Nathan said in a weekend email, adding that the investigation is not even necessary as Superintendent John Ramos Jr. had confirmed 10 HIB cases in August 2015.

“Now it’s over five weeks since he stated that the investigation would be completed in two to four weeks, and we are now finding out it has not yet begun and will not be made available to the public. What do they have to hide? This is their continued attempt to deceive and mislead the parents and this community,” Randy Nathan said.

According to Seitz’s Feb. 26 contract, he will be compensated for his work at a rate of $125 per hour with a maximum total of $5,000, plus travel and other customary expenses.