Supt. Dr. Teresa Kane was on the defensive at tonight's Board of Education meeting in East Windsor. Parents are upset by several recent drug related incidents in town, including the death of a 14-year-old girl from heroin overdose.
Christina Dugan says she was a close family friend.
"I just saw her a couple of hours earlier. She was just chipper and have me a hug and the next thing, she's gone," Dugan said through her tears.
Andrew Vining and his wife came to the meeting looking for answers. Their 15-year-old son was among a group of four East Windsor students caught taking Xanax earlier this week. Vining said he feels like the board is sweeping the drug problem under the rug.
"One of the board members came up and said they didn't know anything about it," he said. "It was a total shock to them tonight."
In response, the board scheduled a family resource event on March 11, hoping to bring the community together on the issue of substance abuse and recovery.
Supt. Kane, however, would not acknowledge that East Windsor has a growing drug problem.
"There's a lot of emotion when we lose someone, and it's understandable, but we have to look at the hard data and and use it to make good decisions," said Kane.
Vining and Dugan have no doubt that drugs are a major issue for East Windsor students.
"The kids come home and say, 'Mom, Dad, there are baggies on the floor, everybody's doing it, it's always in our face and we don't know what to do,'" said Vining.
"We're just now doing something now that it hits home," Dugan said. "It's just very sad."
The superintendent said she's working with the police department to staff a school resource officer at the high school, but it won't happen before September.