VINELAND — A harassment charge filed against City Councilman John Procopio by the mother of one of his Vineland High School homeroom students will not be heard in the local Municipal Court.
The case is now scheduled to be heard in the Westville-National Park Joint Municipal Court in Gloucester County.
The hearing date is set for 1:30 p.m. April 10, but that date could change pending incidents related to the case, officials with the Westville-National Park local court said.
Maribel Cruz alleges in a complaint filed with Vineland Municipal Court officials on Feb. 20 that Procopio yelled, “Let’s do this, punk,” at her son on Feb. 19.
The incident occurred while 16-year-old Jeremiah Cruz was calling his mother on his cell phone during a power failure at the Vineland High School campus on Chestnut Avenue.
District officials said they had waived a ban on using cell phones in classrooms because of the extraordinary nature of the event. Procopio said he asked Jeremiah Cruz not to use his cell phone for security matters.
However, Maribel Cruz, who lives in the 100 block of South East Avenue, further charges in the complaint that Procopio kicked her son out of homeroom. The alleged incidents were done “in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm,” reads the complaint.
The school district placed Procopio on paid administrative leave after the incident.
Joseph Rossi, the district’s executive director of human resources, said Procopio is now working on an “alternate assignment,” which involves putting together science kits.
“It is a teacher-type position,” Rossi said.
Procopio was elected to a four-year term on City Council in January. Municipal officials said the case involving the school issues should not affect his status on City Council.
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