Three of the four members of the Dreamers Club executive committee volunteering at Dog Days on Saturday: from left, Madelyn Sanchez-Berra, Selena Martinez-Santiago and Bethzy Vera-Varela. Below, club president Edith Lozano Zane. (Top photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


The Dreamers Club at Red Bank Regional High School has filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights alleging it has been “singled out for nine years” of discrimination, the group announced Friday.

The allegations of bias are expected to be in the spotlight when the RBR board of education meets in a special session Monday night. Meantime, Superintendent Lou Moore said he’s “hopeful” the board will reinstate the club by reappointing its advisor.

RBR Superintendent Lou Moore at Red Bank council meeting in February. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

In a press release, the Dreamers’ executive committee said it had been notified last month by its advisor that it was “no longer an official school club,” and that a link to the club page had been removed from the school website.

In a complaint filed on its behalf by attorney Jonathan Cohen, the club alleges it “has been subjected to discriminatory treatment from the Board of Education members and has been threatened with losing its club status. The club has been continually singled out by the Board for reasons that can only be explained based on political ideology and the national origin/protected characteristics of the Dreamer Club and the population on behalf of which it advocates.”

“Our club provides space for those who feel ‘othered’; those who feel like they will never fit into RBR no matter what they do,” secretary Madelyn Sanchez-Berra said in the statement. “Our club lets them know they are allowed to take up space, to share their thoughts and ideas with others, and that they belong in a community.”

Sanchez-Berra is one of four young Red Bank women who constitute the club’s executive committee and style themselves as the “Dream 4.” Here’s their full statement: RBR Dreamers press release 090823

Asked to respond, Moore sent redbankgreen the following statement Sunday:

I am extremely proud of the way the students are standing up for themselves and others. I salute their courage, tenacity, and advocacy.
While I am proud of their efforts, I am not surprised. I have been a long-standing and enthusiastic supporter of the Dreamers Club and their advisor. My recommendation that they be recognized as an official district club was approved by the Board in September 2021. Even before attaining this status, they actively worked to support immigrant students, RBR families, and participate in valuable service projects that benefitted our entire school community.
The current issue emerged because one of the five members of the Board present for the meeting on August 16 refused to support my recommendation that the club’s advisor be reappointed. Because RBR has a nine-member board, five votes are required for any resolution item to pass regardless of how many members are in attendance. On August 16, four BOE members supported my recommendation; one did not and this, unfortunately, was enough to overrule the majority vote.
I am hopeful that the Board of Education will approve my recommendation on Monday, September 11 to re-appoint the club advisor so that the Dreamers can carry out their vital role here at RBR.
The Dreamers continue to expand and are now one of the largest and most active groups on campus. They are open, inclusive, and engaged. They set an outstanding example for our school and community. They deserve the unanimous support of our Board of Education at Monday’s meeting and at all times.

Among the items on the agenda when the board meets in a special session Monday night is approval of a $2,256 stipend for Marisol Mondaca to serve as club advisor.

In response to Moore’s statement, the Dreamers told redbankgreen, “While we appreciate the superintendent’s support, it is essential that the Board do the right thing, end the discrimination, and begin treating the club with respect and equality.”

Minutes of the August 16 meeting were not available on the board’s website.

The issue contains echoes of frustration voiced in 2022 by a Young Feminists group over delays in obtaining club status.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:45 in the school cafeteria. redbankgreen will live-stream the meeting with technical assistance from Easy Jack Portman, editor-in-chief of The Buccaneer, RBR’s student newspaper, under the supervision of faculty member Kelly Rizzetta. Register for the live stream using the link below.

Zoom Live Stream Registration

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