A report by The Jersey Journal on Tuesday indicates that suspended Secaucus High School Principal Dr. Robert Berckes intends to file a $5 million lawsuit against Superintendent Jennifer Montesano and the nine members of the Board of Education.
Berckes was suspended in April along with Assistant Principal Jeffrey Case after they disposed of a pocket knife and a small amount of marijuana that was found on a student. According to Berckes, Montesano was notified of the disposal before it happened and only objected when the story became public
Case has subsequently resigned and Berckes sent a notice to the school district that he has “suffered emotional distress, embarrassment, and damage to his chiropractic office as a result.” The Journal reports a tort claim notice was filed on June 5 and as many as 10 additional defendants could be added to the suit.
Berckes has his allies on the school board as Sharon Dellaface released the following statement:
“It’s troubling to me that this state of affairs has escalated to such a point. As high school principal, Dr. Berckes has consistently made our students his first priority. Under his leadership, our high school has flourished by achieving landmark strides in several areas of education.”
Berckes, who has been principal at the school since 2010, spoke in his defense during a May school board meeting and said “I do believe the superintendent is out to damage my good reputation.” His daughter Krystal also addressed the school board.
The next school board meeting will take plan on Thursday, June 28 at Huber Street School.