MANCHESTER — Township school officials never told the public that Manchester High School spent two months without working smoke detectors because they did not believe there was any danger to students and staff.

Superintendent David Trethaway this week defended the district's decision after it was reported by the Asbury Park Press.

"I want to make it clear that the school district worked with the fire officials at every step to ensure that staff and students were never in any danger and the building was completely safe," Trethaway said in a written statement.

"At no time did any fire official express a need to inform anyone of the lack of smoke detectors because their absence only posed an issue when the building was unoccupied."

Trethaway told the Asbury Park Press that a power surge in early September left the smoke detectors unusable until last month. The school worked with the township fire department to utilize school staff to stay overnight and on weekends in the building to monitor for smoke and fire.

Trethaway said fire officials did not ask the school to inform parents because "approved procedures were followed to ensure the safety of staff and students" and safety was never compromised.

The school is located on Colonial Drive a mile from Route 37 in a wooded area. It has a student population of just over 1,000.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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