NJ Teacher Accused Of Touching Student In Hallway Slapped With Disorderly Persons Offense

A Marlboro middle school teacher accused by a parent of assaulting a student in the hallway has been slapped with a disorderly persons offense.

Marlboro Memorial Middle School in Marlboro Township, NJ.

Marlboro Memorial Middle School in Marlboro Township, NJ.

Photo Credit: Marlboro Township Public Schools

On Friday, April 19, Jenna Sciabica, 38, was charged with one count of harassment-offensive touching, which is considered a petty disorderly persons offense, in connection with a March 13 incident, Marlboro police and online records say.

The incident involved "offensive touching over the clothes" in the hallway of Memorial Middle School, and was witnessed by another staff member, Marlboro police said.

Authorities were immediately notified by school administration that Sciabica was placed on leave and would not be returning to the middle school, prompting an investigation, police said.

Sciabica's attorney, Mitchell Ansell, who famously defended Bruce Springsteen in a DWI case, said that Sciabica and the student have known each other for three years. In fact, Sciabica has a "very close" relationship with the student's family, having been invited to their home on numerous occasions.

"Jenna Sciabica has been dedicated to the education of students for over 15 years. She has never had any prior allegations and/or accusations filed against her and has an exemplary record," Ansell said.

"There was absolutely nothing illegal, improper or immoral about the interaction between Jenna and this student on March 13, 2024. Quite frankly, it’s outrageous and defamatory for Jenna to have been accused of committing a crime."

Ansell said bomb threats were sent to Sciabica and her family as a result of the “false and baseless” accusations.

“Jenna intends to plead not guilty and vigorously defend herself in court,” the attorney said. “We are confident that once a judge hears all the facts in this case, Jenna will be completely exonerated and her good name, character and reputation will be restored."

The alleged incident made headlines last week when the student's mother confronted the BOE at a public meeting. What followed were two days of bomb threats, one closing schools for the entire day.

"Recently, there was an incident involving inappropriate physical contact perpetrated by a teaching staff member against a student at Marlboro Memorial Middle School," Marlboro Schools Superintendent Michael Ballone said. 

"Both the safety and well-being of our students are our highest priorities, and any behavior that jeopardizes this will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

"As soon as we became aware of the situation, action was taken, and the staff member in question was immediately removed from her position. In addition, the Board of Education President was notified. Our administrative team continues to work closely with law enforcement, the State Board of Examiners which regulates teacher licensure and credentials, and other authorities to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted."

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