“I want people to know that I love their kids,” said Jerome C. Higgins, his eyes welling up with tears, according to NJ.com. “There was nothing that could be worse in my life than for me to displace 500 children and inconvenience and hurt their families.”
Higgins, 48, who has worked for the Edison School System for 24 years, has been charged with a petty disorderly persons offense for smoking inside the school, according to NJ.com.
Richard O'Malley, Edison schools superintendent, said the district will rebuild the school and students will be taking classes at Middlesex Community College."Although we had a tragedy happen in our town, the most important thing is that no one was hurt," said O'Malley.
School will reconvene for James Monroe students with space being provided at Middlesex County College. Busing will be provided.
"All your kids are going to go to college," O'Malley said, to cheers of parents and others attending a community meeting Monday night (see video).
Counseling services will be available at the Education Center, (312 Pierson Avenue, Edison) for James Monroe students, staff, and members of the community. (Counseling services for students attending other Edison Public Schools will be available at the respective school.)