SILVER CREEK — Following allegations of a “isolation cell” against Silver Creek Central Schools earlier this week, a large group of parents and District residents gathered at Sky’s the Limit on Main Street in the Village to discuss next steps.
The allegations come from Jay Hall, deputy director of elementary programming, who wrote a letter to the school board on Tuesday outlining a “isolation cell” at primary school. Hall has since been placed on administrative leave. He was present at the community meeting on Thursday evening, but did not speak.
“There will come a time when Jay will speak for everyone. He’s going to speak out loud, he’s going to speak clearly, and he’s going to speak the truth. said Hall’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou. “But tonight is not that night. Tonight is not Jay’s night. He won’t say a word.
Instead, it was up to the parents to talk. Kristina Kwaizer, Amanda Bailey and Tiffany Farley have each said their child was placed in the alleged “isolation room” and each of them shared their side of the story in front of the assembled crowd. Kwaizer alleged that her child was not even let out of that room to eat.
“My son is afraid to go to school. … This shouldn’t happen,” said Kwaizer. “Being barricaded and not going out for lunch. They need a better behavior plan for teachers, not just kids.
While there was a lot of animosity directed at the school Thursday night, one overwhelming sentiment is one of support for Hall. A parent delivered a letter from his student to Hall, and Farley expressed his gratitude to Hall, which was met with a round of applause. Although Hall didn’t speak Thursday night, his emotions were still on display.
“My son is 5 years old and he has been in school since he was 3 years old” Farley said. “Recently he was fighting not to go to school, and I didn’t understand. I feel horrible that I don’t understand what’s going on. He doesn’t even want to leave the house anymore. … It makes me heartbreaking that our children had to go through this.I am grateful to Mr. Hall for all he has done for our children.
Those present said they were struggling to find a lawyer to take their case, but at the end of the meeting, Eoannou, separate from Hall’s representation, said he would start working on his own private investigation. .
“I don’t speak on his behalf and he didn’t ask me to” said Eaonnou. “I will pay the investigator. You bring your kids, and we’ll have all the kids stuck in this room. … I’m not doing this having anything to do with Mr. Hall. But hearing what has been said, I want to do my part.
Hall had no comment when reached by phone ahead of the evening meeting.
Meanwhile, an online petition noting the primary school “children are in danger in a place where they are supposed to feel safe and we must act before other children are victims of this abuse” has begun. Friday afternoon, there were 356 signatures.
On Wednesday, the district opened its own investigation into the matter, which Superintendent Todd Crandall said should be completed in the coming days. Crandall said student safety is paramount. “We are committed to being transparent, thorough and always putting student welfare first.” he said.
Overall, the district remains silent on the issue, including from elementary staff who were briefed on the issue last week.
In early March, the district announced the reappointment of Delia Bonenberger as interim elementary director. Former senior manager Sterling Stearns has been noted as “unavailable and not in the area until further notice.”
According to Board of Education minutes posted online, the district met in executive session at its March 10 meeting for the “the purpose of discussing a particular person’s employment” at 18 o’clock. The open session resumed at 7:37 p.m. Stearns’ departure was announced on March 11.