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The original item was published from 2/1/2020 2:54:50 PM to 2/5/2020 3:51:50 PM.

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Posted on: February 1, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Township Response to Friday, Jan. 31 incident

This afternoon, Mayor Michele Delisfort, the entire Township Committee, and Police Director Daniel Zieser strongly condemned the Administrators and Moderators of the Union, NJ Residents Facebook Forum for irresponsibly and recklessly failing to contain the false narrative surrounding yesterday’s low level non-event at Union High School.  Their failure directly attributed to turning that event into a nightmare scenario of lockdowns, SWAT teams, police dogs and multi agency response. 

“Yesterday’s event was routine in every sense of the word,” said Director Zieser.  “It would have been resolved in a matter of minutes, but for the reckless rumors and incendiary falsehoods spread across the Union, NJ Residents Facebook Forum.  Had the Moderators and Administrators acted responsibly by not starting and spreading rumors, this event would not have been a non-event.  Their failure to display good judgment caused undue chaos and a potentially life threatening situation.” 

During yesterday’s event, the Union, NJ Residents Facebook Forum, which has been routinely criticized for allowing hate speech, pervasive bullying and unchecked rumors, widely circulated multiple rumors of a stampede, an active shooter, reports of injuries and students rushed to the hospital.  Perhaps most egregious were that these reports led law enforcement agencies to treat what should have been a routine check into a multi agency SWAT level event.

“The wanton recklessness displayed by the Administrators and Moderators of the Union, NJ Residents Facebook Forum was the sole reason for turning a routine matter into a full scale law enforcement event.  This isn’t a case of free speech.  Free speech doesn’t allow you to yell fire in a crowded movie theater! I call on the Administrators and Moderators of this site, several of whom are employees of the very school district that was put into jeopardy, to immediately suspend all activity,” said Mayor Michele Delisfort.

Late last year, the Township Committee adopted a resolution strongly urging the administrators of the Union, NJ Residents Facebook Forum to open the forum in an act of transparency to allow any and all viewpoints and to cease using the Township’s seal in a manner to mislead individuals into thinking that it was the official Township webpage.  This resolution can be found on the Township’s webpage (here).

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