TOMS RIVER-Three Toms River youth camp counselors have been suspended after photos were published to Facebook showing a child with burn marks and blisters on his hand, reportedly as punishment by the counselors.
Sandra Rodriguez Santora posted photos of her child’s hands with blisters, saying “This is how my child was punished today for the entire class messing up the art room. They were all made to sit on the blacktop in the heat while the counselors played basketball. If they complained, they were told it would be 10 more minutes of sitting on the hot blacktop.”
Santora said her son suffered second-degree burns on his hands and buttocks while temperatures reached into the 90’s.
“He put his hands under his butt to stop the burning,” she said.
The Toms River Township council and Mayor Kelaher are refusing to comment on the incident, only issuing a press release through their Public Information Officer, Stacey Proebstle.
“the three program counselors involved in the incident were immediately and indefinitely suspended,” Proebstle said in a prepared statement. “The incident is under investigation internally and the Township has been informed that it has also been referred to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office. The Township cannot comment further on this incident until those investigations are complete.”
We reached out directly to the Toms River Township council and Mayor and all but one refused to comment on the incident.
“I was copied on that post to Facebook and I immediately thought the claim was appalling,” Councilman Daniel Rodrick said. “I immediately forwarded the information to Business Administrator Don Guardian and the appropriate departments to investigate the claim.”
When asked for comments from the Township Council and Mayor’s office, Proebstle simply said, “The Mayor and Council will have no further comment on this incident.”
“This isolated and unfortunate incident, however, should in no way deter participation in Toms River’s exceptional youth programs. Providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all children involved is the Township’s highest priority,” she added.
Toms River Police Department Public Information Officer Jillian Messina referred all comments to Proebstl.