WAYNE COUNTY, N.Y (WROC) — Students in the Gananda Central School District were sent home early Wednesday after reports that protesters were going to gather outside campuses in support of a student with special needs who police say was involved in a physical confrontation over being told to wear a mask at a bus stop.
His mother is accused of fighting with the district employee last Friday and has been charged with harassment in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child.
According to Macedon Police, Laine Mulye assaulted a bus monitor after they got into an intense argument over her son trying to get on the bus without a mask, despite district policy. Mulye allegedly encouraged her son to punch the bus monitor during the altercation.
In an email sent home to parents, the district emphasized this was not an emergency situation but out of an abundance of caution wanted kids to leave early while not letting walkers go home themselves. Instead of having their parents pick them up if they didn’t want to ride a bus.
The protest was put on by the Wayne County Chapter of Moms For Liberty, which went on peacefully from 2:00 pm-3:30 pm across the street from Richard Mann Elementary School. About a dozen activists showed up demanding better training for staff on dealing with kids who are special needs.
“We’d like to see the bus monitor’s credentials, we want to see her training?“ Summer O’Brien whose son has special needs told us “Is she trained with special needs kids and when or how? Is the transportation department aware of the special needs Eli? his is why we’re here today.”
“We have a ten-year-old child who’s being harmed by all these people running around screaming obscenities to people trying to stand up for a special needs child,” another protestor said.
Behind the Slogan “We Stand With Eli”, the group of parents pointed to the New York State Department of Education having exemptions for students with physical and medical conditions who do not have to wear masks. A policy they argue wasn’t communicated to employees.
“These aids need to know how to handle these children and how to deal with special needs children,” Jennifer Williams, Chair of Wayne County Chapter of Moms for Liberty argued. “And the bus driver as well. If there are policies about these kids not having to wear masks just communicate.”
While others in the community have come out in support of the transportation staff member, protestors for “We stand with Eli” accuse the school district’s actions of actually hurting the child caught up in the matter.
“This child hasn’t been able to go to school all week because of the lack of transportation the schools by law are supposed to provide,” O’Brien said. “Now he’s even more stressed, concerned, and upset.”
All athletic practices and games in the district were canceled by the district as well due to this gathering. Leaders of the protest plan to take their demands to the next school board meeting and assure their rallies will stay peaceful.
We reached out to the Gananda School Districts Superintendents office for further comments on the decisions they made today sending kids home but have not heard back.