SILVER CREEK, NY (WIVB) – The district administrator who sent a letter to the Silver Creek Board of Education earlier this week, with allegations that teachers have used a so-called isolation room to discipline students, has been placed on administrative leave.
Tom Eoannou, the attorney for Jay Hall, Silver Creek’s assistant director of elementary programming confirmed the school district has placed Hall on leave.
As News 4 reported Thursday, Hall sent a letter to board saying students in kindergarten to second grade, “have recently and within the last school year, been inhumanly and illegally locked or barricaded in an isolation cell in room E-102.”
Hall also details how students have pleaded to get out.
“Children as young as five years old are being blockaded and locked in the isolation cell, kicking the door, pounding on glass with their fists, banging their heads, crying profusely, pleading to be freed, all with complicit staff members standing by and watching,” the letter says.
Hall describes the room as a “cold, cinder block jail like cell.”
The letter doesn’t detail how often the room is used.
Hall says district leaders were told about the issues, but have not entirely resolved them.
Many parents we’ve heard from say they first learned of these claims within the past week or so, through word of mouth or social media.
Dozens of parents attended a community meeting Thursday expressing outrage over the claims.
“To hear that the way he behaves is to be put into this room as a way of behavioral modification or punishment that’s not going to help him,” said Kristina Kwaizer, a parent whose child was named in Hall’s letter, “When my son confirmed everything irate isn’t even a word I could use to express my anger.”
Kwaizer says she has no other choice but to continue to send her son to school.
“It’s terrifying to know that I have to send my child back on Monday because I don’t have any other resources for him,” she said.
The superintendent of Silver Creek Schools Todd Crandall, who has not agreed to do an interview with News 4, says he first learned of the claims two weeks ago and that the district is conducting an internal investigation. Crandall said a report will eventually be released publicly. Calls to the district Friday were not returned.
Many parents are raising questions of whether law enforcement will investigate these claims. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that they were not investigating because a formal complaint hadn’t been made. Even if a complaint was filed, Sheriff James Quattrone expressed doubt that his office would investigate because a school resource officer works at the school. State Police say they’re aware of the reports, but would not comment further.
The Chautauqua County Office of Children and Family Services says it doesn’t have jurisdiction over such matters.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.