WEST MILTON, Ohio (WDTN) — On Monday night, parents and community members were able to voice their opinions to the Milton-Union Exempted Village School District Board of Education.
“My son loves school and it’s very — it’s a hard conversation for me to have to figure if he’s going to continue here,” said Kara Holmes, a concerned parent.
That sentiment was felt around the room during the meeting on Monday, Oct. 16. Many were wanting answers that could make them feel safe about dropping their child off for school.
Holmes said, “I want to know that if he goes to a teacher, a principal, and Dr. Ritchie, that he’s going to be protected. And I don’t feel that right now.”
It was heated at times but everyone was heard for over an hour during the meeting.
Several people who spoke suggested that the board outline their policies and procedures for reporting allegations in the district. The board said they should first go to teachers, then principals, then the superintendent and then the board if they felt like they were not getting the answers they wanted.
One parent suggested the district employ a social worker advocate who could be there for students and educate them on what to do when abuse occurs.
“Not only can this advocate educate the children — kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade — somebody touches you, how are they to respond? What do they do? Where do they go? So the child not only understands it from the parent but also understands it from the school itself,” said Jody Tiernan, another concerned parent.
Some people spoke in favor of the board, saying they should let the legal process play out before suggesting paid administrative leave.
“It is my hope that these same individuals and so we really will jump on the bandwagon to make their community and school look poorly will show as much effort in apologizing publicly. These accusations — if these accusations are proven false,” said a man addressing the board.
Some parents appreciated the acknowledgment of the tough legal spot the district is in, while others still find the remaining unanswered questions worrisome.
Holmes said, “The fact that they couldn’t help us with the future and how they’re going to protect my son in the future. It kind of wiped all that out for me.”