Bellwood-Antis school board addresses parents’ concerns over handling of investigation

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BELLWOOD, Pa. (WTAJ) — It was standing room only Tuesday evening at the Bellwood-Antis Elementary School where the school board met with parents once again to discuss their plan of action after two people in the district were arrested in just two months.

After a contentious meeting last week, the school board put together a plan of action with parents’ concerns in mind.

District Superintendent, Dr. Thomas McInroy, started Tuesday night’s meeting with nine different areas they say they will address.

“The coaches and advisers are not permitted to be alone with students,” McInroy said. “The district will hire this evening Jocelyn Kramer, who is a partner from Weiss Burkardt Kramer LLC. Attorney Kramer will conduct an independent investigation regarding the school’s response to the abuse allegations in relating to safety and security matters. The district will review and enhance the state mandated protocols for school employees who are accused of child abuse, including sexually.”

The Superintendent also said see-through windows will be installed in the district and more surveillance cameras will be added. Parents like Rochelle Simpson, say a large group of parents want a new Superintendent.

“Six hundred and roughly eighty-plus people have signed a petition to have Mr. McInroy resign,” Simpson said. “I’d like to present this to you guys. One-eighth of the Bellwood community supports this.”

While parents say they were thankful their concerns were addressed, they say they don’t know why the district did not act sooner.

At last week’s board meeting parents said the school board should have suspended Blazier on paid leave last Decemeber, the time they say they were first notified by Child and Youth Services on the investigation of Blazier.

“I find it very hard to believe, is that if the administration knew about it, they never reported it to the board” one parent, Ken Hoke said.

“As soon as we knew, we made a phone call,” McInroy said.

Tuesday night, the board also voted for a new school board member, Tim Mallon, who’s a Human Resources Manager from Antis Township. Mallon replaces Jason Lynn, who was charged by Altoona Police in January with possession of illegal and stolen guns, drugs and paraphernalia.

Last month, 39 year-old, Assistant Coach for the Bellwood Antis Middle School wrestling team, Ryan Blazier was arrested and charged by state police with sexually assaulting two boys on the wrestling team and raping an 8-year-old girl.

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