Two and a half years ago: Vineland High School student challenges school’s filtering of LGBT websites

In April 2011 the Vineland School District announced it would remove filters on pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-related websites on school computers in the high school and middle schools after two students filed complaints with the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU and Yale Law School challenged school districts throughout the country.

One of the students, Shaun Laurencio, now 20 and a second-year student at Cumberland County College, is continuing his advocacy efforts to help support LGBT students.

Laurencio was named president of the student group GLOW, which stands for Gay, Lesbian or Whatever.

“The main goal of the group is to spread awareness and equality on issues, not just for LGBT (people) but for everybody in the world,” he said. “We have a ‘no hate’ policy and foster a very caring atmosphere for everybody.”

The education major, who plans to be a history teacher, said he plans to continue his message throughout the rest of his life.

“People are coming out more and more often, and people need that support system now more than ever,” he said. “I think it’s very important to keep this ideology. I want to foster (a feeling of) universal care and equality with my students.”

Two months ago: Atlantic County receives grant for Tilton Road work

On July 8, Atlantic County announced it received a $215,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation that was the final piece of funding to complete the repaving work on Tilton Road.

Last week the contractor Arawak Paving Co. of Hammonton began the initial work from Burton Avenue in Northfield to Fire Road in Egg Harbor Township and will install curbing and upgrade ramps for the next five weeks, said county Engineer Joe D’Abundo. Then crews will repave the road.

The concrete work will be done during the day and the paving will be done at night, he said. There will be lane shifts and closings throughout the process, which D’Abundo said they hope will conclude by mid-December.

“We want all the work to get done — the sooner the better,” he said. “We thank everyone for their patience on this. We know it’s a long time coming.”

The full project included all of Tilton Road from Shore Road to the White Horse Pike in Galloway Township. The full cost of $1.7 million was paid through federal money, he said.

Six and a half years ago: Pleasantville school employee alleges reverse discrimination

In January 2007, former Pleasantville interim Superintendent Ben Mora sued the district claiming its hiring practices were based on race over qualification.

Mora, who is white, claimed the board “demonstrated a clear pattern of discrimination against Caucasians and in favor of minority candidates for key administrative positions over approximately the last 15 years,” according to the lawsuit.

Mora, who has worked in the district for more than 36 years, including two stints as interim superintendent, said he was not fairly considered for the permanent position.

His attorney, Clifford Van Syoc, said oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 7 at the Appellate Division court in Trenton.

He said they were very optimistic about their chances.

Pleasantville officials did not return a request for comment.

Contact Joel Landau:

609-272-7215

@landaupressofac on Twitter

More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.