CATAWISSA RR — A Southern Columbia Area alumnus and parent expressed disappointment with the school district at Monday's school board meeting, claiming a teacher had made homicidal and suicidal threats on school property in October and is back in the district teaching.
Josh Maciejewski, co-owner of Function of Beauty in Catawissa, said he provided school board members with a statement at a January executive session regarding the teacher and shared the statement with the press Monday evening.
"The parents I have shared that statement with privately so far have all expressed similar levels of concern, angst and outrage that was expressed by me and other other parents that came to that executive session," said Maciejewski.
He alleged at the meeting there has been "an ongoing issue for seven years in one form or another with this teacher," adding parents didn't believe their children when they spoke up "because what they were saying was so ridiculous they couldn't believe it was true."
Maciejewski told the board it was the district's last opportunity to communicate with parents on issues that have occurred since the allegedly threats in October, one week after a Southern Columbia Area student committed suicide due to alleged bullying.
Since the suicide, the district has worked with parents to revise its bullying policy and clarify language defining what consists of bullying, punishments for offenders and the system through which to report the incidents. Counseling has been offered to students in the wake both the October suicide and the suicide of another student last week, not believed to be bullying related.
However, Maciejewski said this is not an isolated issue, so "it's not going to be a limited time event that has been corrected through whatever counseling or psychological treatment that has occurred in the last month and a half."
He said. "The homicidal and suicidal actions that occurred in that building are a limited incident, but all the things that led up to that, all the indicators and warning signs, have been going on for much longer than that with no action."
Following the meeting, Maciejewski told the press on the day in question, the Locust Township Police Department was called by the school through a cell phone. He said the threats were made to parents, not students, but following the incident the teacher allegedly fled campus on foot. He alleged police responded to the call, and the school was not placed on lockdown following the teacher's leaving.
The teacher has returned to school as of two weeks ago, he said.
The school board had no response to Maciejewski's statements. This is a developing story The News-Item will be working on.