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Broadalbin-Perth reviewing bus practices after incident draws law enforcement investigation

Broadalbin-Perth reviewing bus practices after incident draws law enforcement investigation

The information comes in a letter sent to district parents
Broadalbin-Perth reviewing bus practices after incident draws law enforcement investigation
Photographer: Shutterstock

BROADALBIN-PERTH -- The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District is reviewing its transportation practices after an incident on a school bus led to law enforcement involvement, according to a recent letter sent home to parents by the district.

The letter was sent home to district parents in an email March 22 and carries the name of district Superintendent Stephen M. Tomlinson. The letter describes the incident as "a serious behavior concern on one of our buses" and referred to an unnamed individual as "an alleged perpetrator."

No date or further description is included and it indicates no more information could be provided under federal school privacy rules. The letter also indicated law enforcement officials had directed the district not to speak to students or parents prior to their being interviewed by investigators, or to any community member seeking information about the incident.

The district has also been "working with law enforcement to thoroughly investigate the situation," the letter obtained by The Daily Gazette reads

"Please know," the letter reads, "the alleged perpetrator of this particular incident has been removed from our school system, including all buildings and buses. The safety and security of your children in our schools and on our buses remains a top priority."

The letter references "law enforcement," though not a specific agency. Agencies contacted Monday either referred comment elsewhere or indicated they couldn't comment.

A state police spokeswoman Monday referred comment to the Fulton County Sheriff's Department. Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino referred questions concerning the letter to Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown.

Brown, through a member of his office, indicated he is aware of the Broadalbin-Perth letter, but couldn't make any comment.

The district did not respond to inquiries by The Daily Gazette last week regarding the letter, specifically direct requests for a copy. A message left for further comment Monday afternoon was not returned.

Information about the incident, or lack of it, has led to concern among some parents. One parent, who did not wish to be identified, said she had pulled her children from district buses in response. She also called for bus monitors.

The letter attempted to address apparent anticipated concerns about information released by the district and transportation policy.

"I strongly believe the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District has a reputation of communicating with all families, whether it be a positive story or one that brings with it difficult news," the Tomlinson letter reads. "Please be assured that we strive to keep an open line of communication with our community and share information to the fullest extent possible."

But he continued that "because of state and federal privacy laws, I am unable to provide additional details about the situation at this time."

The district transports more than 1,200 children daily by bus, the letter reads. Department members, including drivers and aides, "receive regular training in student behavior management," the letter reads.

District buses are also equipped with video surveillance equipment as a safety tool.

"As a parent of a child attending the B-P Middle School who rides our school buses regularly, I would expect nothing less than the best care and attention to all safety concerns on her school bus," Tomlinson's letter reads.

"Lastly," the letter concludes, "we are conducting a thorough review of our transportation practices. This review will leave no stone unturned as we seek to enhance the manner in which we serve the transportation needs of all pre-K through grade 12 students in the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District."

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