Court action by Gov. Phil Murphy's administration has successfully stopped in-person graduation ceremonies Wayne's mayor planned to hold for the school district's two high schools, the mayor says.

Mayor Chris Vergano. had planned commencement ceremonies for Wayne Valley High School on Thursday and Wayne Hills High School on Friday at the municipal parking lot. The school district is hosting a "virtual" graduation for both high schools on June 18 and a full-scale graduation ceremony on July 30.

Murphy recently announced graduations starting July 6, if they comply with whatever maximum-size gatherings are in place at the time under the governor's executive orders meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Currently, gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed, those Murphy has said he expects that number to grow over time.

The ceremonies as planned would have also exceeded that 100-person limit.

The mayor on his Facebook page said Murphy filed a lawsuit against him on Tuesday seeking a temporary restraint. A judge on Wednesday issued an order barring him and the township from holding the ceremony for the Class of 2020.

"Unfortunately, the courts have ruled, and the celebrations will not take place this week," Vergano wrote.

The ceremonies were not sanctioned by the district and would not be attended by superintendent Mark Toback, members of the Board of Education and faculty members.

Wayne school district website
Wayne school district website (Dan Alexander,Townsquare Media NJ)

Vergano said his plan was solely for the benefit of the community's students, and not meant as a defiance of Murphy.

"Throughout, our only goal was to assist the children of our community in having a meaningful celebration. This was never about me, as the mayor, the board of education or the governor. This was and still remains only about one thing … the Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills Classes of 2020."

Murphy used a lawsuit to shutdown Asbury Park's city council resolution that would offer indoor dining on Monday when restrictions on outdoor dining were lifted.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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