The Union City School District does not condone the past actions of Lillo Brancato, or anyone else that would injure or even attempt to injure a police officer. We have only the highest respect for our Police Department, which does an incredible job protecting our students and our community every single day.
Our District, like districts and communities across the state and country, is fighting a war against drugs. Last year alone, more than 3,200 New Jerseyans died from drug overdoses.
To combat drug abuse, we resorted to a non-traditional method by inviting this individual to speak about his life of drugs and crime, and his recovery as a long-time addict. He was not paid by the School District.
Clearly, the decision to invite Lillo Brancato was a mistake. In hindsight, we should have been much more sensitive to the feelings and concerns of the New York Police Department, our own Police Department, and police departments across the country. We apologize to everyone who is offended by our decision and rest assured, it will never happen again.