BCI assists Falls police

NEWTON FALLS – School officials and police have confirmed that an investigation has been launched regarding possible criminal activity in the Newton Falls School District. However, Superintendent Paul Woodard and police Chief Gene Fixler declined to disclose details, other than it’s ”sensitive.”

Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, confirmed that the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation was asked to assist police with the investigation.

Lisa Slater, the parent of a seventh-grade student at the junior high / high school, said she became alarmed when she discovered her son and 11 other students were sent home on a suspension at the end of March.

“(They were) finding notes about the teacher, sexual notes,” she said.

Before being sent home, her son said his locker was searched and he was told to lift his shirt so school officials could pat him down.

The day before students took their Easter vacation, Slater said her son was sent home again – this time on an emergency removal.

“They crossed out the word ‘suspension,'” she said.

Slater said she wants to know what proof the school has of her son’s involvement, and said the suspensions and removals are harming his permanent record.

Less than a week after returning from the holiday, Slater said her son was again pulled into the office and questioned.

“He comes home and says, ‘Mom, they pulled me in the office again. They started questioning me and they patted me down again,'” she said Tuesday.

He also said he was asked to give them a writing sample.

Fixler said investigations involving schools can be touchy, but it’s the job of the police officers to protect not only the students but everyone else there, as well.

“It is a sensitive investigation,” he said, and added that cooperation of students is key.

“If they know anything about anything at all, it’s their responsibility to tell us, tell the administrator, tell the school resource officer,” he said.