Hilton Central School District prepares sexual abuse prevention plan for parents

Local News

HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Parents in the Hilton Central School District will receive a 10 page plan on preventing sexual abuse called “Road To Recovery.”

The plans come after the recent arrest of Kirk Ashton, former Northwood Elementary School principal, who is accused of sexually harassing over 30 students.

The district says there’s still an ongoing investigation with the district and law enforcement. Once complete, an internal investigation will be conducted afterwards, within the district.

But no word on how long either of these events will take.

That’s why Casey Kosiorek, Superintendent for Hilton School District is taking action to make improvements now, in the form of this prevention plan.

Investigations can take a while, he says, but back-to-school is quickly approaching. “People are working through their grief in different ways, but we all understand that this is important work we need to do collectively,” he said.

This sexual abuse prevention plan is a working document, not yet released to parents. The district says it will be released to the community soon.

In it, there’s several elements of “action plans”, with “indicators for success.”

Guidance includes the following topics:

  • Screening and selecting employees
  • Interaction between individuals
  • Reinforcing a culture of reporting, empowering students and staff to speak up
  • Ensuring safe environments
  • Training for sexual abuse prevention
  • Emotional support

Kosiorek says they’re working with experts, like Bivona Child Advocacy, to make sure all of this is scientifically based.

Parents have been in the loop as well, for feedback and suggestions.

“We met as a focus group and collected feedback from the group, and then implemented that feedback, and moved the plan along to the board of education,” he said.

Kosiorek says at the end of the day he wants parents and students to understand they can feel safe coming forward to report something.

“When you have someone grooming individuals and creating an environment where these behaviors can be acted on, the culture is a large part,” he said. “So we want to make sure we could retool the culture, provide opportunities for everyone to feel extremely comfortable in reporting. Not just at Northwood but all the buildings in the district.”

Kosiorek says there have also been parent support circles throughout the summer, and training sessions to teach adults how they can detect and prevent sexual abuse.

More training for employees, families and staff will take place this fall.

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