YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A parent’s displeasure with seating arrangements at the New Milford High School graduation ceremony at Paramus Catholic High School this week ended in his arrest for assaulting a police officer.
As often happens at graduations, school officials and police advised attendees of Monday night’s graduation that they couldn’t stand in the back or along the aisles once all of the seats in the auditorium were filled.
Everyone had to be seated for safety reasons, Police Chief Frank Papapietro explained.
School officials made overflow rooms available with live streaming so that those without a seat could watch the ceremonies, the chief said.
Enough tickets were distributed to fill the seats in both the auditorium and those rooms, Papapietro said.
That didn’t sit well with 49-year-old Sanjiv Agarwal and his family, the chief said.
Agarwal, of Hoffman Avenue, became irate, “taunting New Milford High School resource officeres in the hallway,” Papapietro said.
Despite instructions by those officers and a uniformed Paramus police officer, the family refused to use the available classrooms, while Agarwal shoulted so loudly that “people inside the auditorium were able to hear him,” the chief said.
At one point, Agarwal tried pushing teachers and guests out of his way to get into the auditorium.
That was pretty much the breaking point. Yet, although Paramus Police Capt. Robert Guidetti told him to leave, Papapietro said, Agarwal “ignored him and continued to push people out of his way.”
As New Milford Officers Bill Wilde and Keith Wester made their way toward him, Agarwal began swinging, the chief said.
Wilde was punched during the fracas, which ended with the officers dragging Agarwal from the auditorium.
On his way out, he fell, cutting his head on a center doorpost, Papapietro said.
He was treated at the scene and taken to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood for further treatment, the chief said.
Meanwhile, Paramus police charged Agarwal with assaulting a police officer.
More charges will be filed before his scheduled July 10 Municipal Court hearing, Papapietro said.
“The fact that most attending the ceremony had no idea of what was occurring is a credit to the officers involved,” the chief said. “They diffused an escalating situation with great professionalism and preserved the solemn dignity of the occasion for the graduates and their families.”
PHOTO ABOVE: Courtesy BRETT M. DZADIK (
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