BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – It has been 34 days since a young Boardman student with autism had a note stapled to his hair by a teacher’s aide, according to prosecutors. The aide was placed on leave and has since resigned.
The issue was discussed at Monday night’s Boardman school board meeting, and a protest took place beforehand.
The aide submitted her resignation on Friday. Monday night, the school board had to vote to accept that resignation.
But, a resignation letter is not what some parents and community members want. They want the teacher’s aide to be charged and for other school employees to also take responsibility.
More than an hour before the school board meeting, about 40 people from different Valley communities rallied in the high school parking lot. It was to raise awareness about the stapling incident and call for more action to be taken.
“We want explanations. We want [Boardman Schools Superintendent] Tim Saxton to explain why this was just a reprimand, why they chose not to fire her,” said Tina Santucci, the rally’s coordinator.
“I think the best thing about this rally is that it’s raising awareness and accountability,” said June Baker, an educator at Summit Academy.
They had signs reading ‘This is not okay’ and ‘Take action.’ Plus, dozens of cases of water bottles lined the sidewalk to represent the water bottle that sparked the note in the first place.
“We are bringing enough water and we’ve had enough donations to where every child in the intermediate classrooms in Boardman will never have to worry about bringing another water bottle to school this year or hopefully next year,” Santucci said.
During Monday night’s meeting, the school board voted to accept the aide’s resignation but first opened the floor to the public. Three people stood up, including the boy’s aunt, Sheri Hartley, on behalf of the family.
“It’s obvious from recent events that more oversight is necessary. Everyone in my nephew’s situation failed him. My sister complained multiple times about this teacher’s aide,” Hartley said.
The school board listened and gave their own statement about their choice of action and reason for not immediately firing the aide.
“The discipline which was issued was based on the circumstances and facts as we understood them at that time. While this is in no way meant in her defense, understand that this is an employee who had been here without report of an incident for more than 20 years,” said School Board President Vicki Davis.
Those rallying we spoke with called it a slap on the wrist and said they want Saxton to be held responsible too. Saxton tells us that right now, no other action is being taken against other employees but that they are looking at all information.
“What we need to do is make sure we learn from this. I think in leadership, every opportunity that you have, you have to reflect, learn and grow and I think that’s gonna be the key piece,” Saxton said.
The result of Monday night’s school board meeting was the acceptance of the teacher’s aide’s resignation.
Saxton tells us they will look at all information but as of now, no further action will be taken against the aide as she is no longer an employee.