VINELAND — School district officials will hold a fact-finding hearing today regarding an alleged confrontation between teacher and City Councilman John Procopio and a student on Tuesday.
Procopio was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday after an incident related to Tuesday’s power failure on the Vineland High School campus on Chestnut Avenue.
District Personnel Director Joseph Rossi said a student in Procopio’s charge called his mother about the power failure. The district on Tuesday had waived its policy banning cellphone use during classes because of the “extraordinary situation,” he said.
Procopio allegedly tried to prevent the student from using the cellphone and a “verbal confrontation” ensued, Rossi said.
Rossi said today’s fact-finding hearing will involve Procopio, representatives from the Vineland Education Association, and Vineland High School South Principal Mario Olsen. Procopio teaches at Vineland High School South, which houses freshmen and sophomores.
Rossi said a final decision is not expected out of today’s meeting.
Procopio was not available to comment on the issue.
Procopio was elected to a four-year term on City Council in December.
City Council President Anthony Fanucci said he does not know if the municipality’s governing body will take any action.
“It’s a Board of Education matter right now,” he said.
Fanucci is a former member of the city’s Board of Education.
District officials dismissed students at 12:27 p.m. on Tuesday because of what they said was a power failure at both Vineland High School North and Vineland High School South.
District officials blamed the loss of electricity on a short circuit in an underground conduit that carries a main power line to Vineland High School North. Crews from the Vineland Municipal Electric Utility worked throughout the night to run a new power line from Chestnut Avenue to the high school.
The high school reopened Wednesday morning.
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