The uproar over whether the Camden County prosecutor's draconian "Always call 911" mandate should apply even in cases that teachers, principals, or parents once had the power to resolve has become quite an educational experience for Collingswood.

Among the lessons so far: Straightforward, unambiguous and unequivocal face-to-face and written communication - particularly among borough, school, and law enforcement officials - is essential.

So is straightforward, unambiguous, and unequivocal communication with those they serve, in this case, parents and students.

And so is 'fessing up, instead of backside covering up, when someone in authority gets it wrong.

Even when the best of intentions and an abundance of caution are involved, those in authority need to make sure they understand the ramifications of what they're requiring others in authority to do.

It is especially important that these understandings be reached before those in authority start doing what they believe they're required to do as a result of the various . . . communications.

And especially before a communications breakdown sparks a social media explosion among understandably confused and outraged parents.

Whose kids, after all, are the ones whose well-being supposedly is paramount here.

Just ask the mother of a 13-year-old boy whose late-May altercation with a friend triggered a police response to Collingswood Middle School.

As well as a visit to her home by a representative from New Jersey's child protection agency.

"My son was wrong," says the mother, who acknowledges that the boy had at one point loosely wrapped a phone charger cord around his friend's neck.

"They were roughhousing, and my son was dead wrong to do what he did. But wrong to the point of calling the police" and the state? asks the mother of three, who told her story only if the boy's name and hers were withheld.

"The parent of the other child called me, and said everything was fine, and they were OK with it," she adds. "The school gave him detention, which they should have. And that should have been it."

Except that isn't it in Collingswood, where the borough police got called to an elementary school party on June 16 because of something a 9-year-old said.

The boy made a remark about brownies, meaning the common party treat and "not skin color," according to his mother, who presumably knows her child better than does Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo, whose mandate this is.

And whose statement, issued in the wake of the understandable uproar her unnecessary mandate caused, was a masterpiece of content-free spin.

I called Colalillo's office and was referred to her spokesman, my former colleague Kevin Callahan, who said his boss is referring reporters to the statement.

Well, all right then.

Surely the police, even in semi-bucolic Collingswood, have more pressing matters to deal with than what some third grader might have said to a classmate.

Soon, perhaps, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office will begin audio or video surveillance of school playgrounds in an effort to protect the public from ill-advised/ill-tempered remarks or actions by children?

As the 13-year-old's mother says, "What's next? Are we going to have to send kids to school with a lawyer's name and number?"

It sounds absurd.

On second thought, perhaps not so much.

856-779-3845 @inqkriordan