No Blame Game

Randolph School Board Thankful For Response

The Randolph Central School Board of Education met for its monthly meeting Wednesday. The board is thankful for the response to a theft and break in at the school on Sunday. P-J photo by William Mohan

RANDOLPH — The recent theft of a school bus was discussed during a Randolph Central School Board meeting Wednesday.

On Sunday, three teenagers from the Randolph Children’s Home broke into Randolph Central School and the adjacent school bus garage. Following the initial break in, the trio also stole a school bus. The bus was later located on Clinton Street near West Eighth Street in Jamestown.

The students, 17- and 16-year-old males and a 14-year old female were later detained. No damage was reported to the bus. However, a window was broken with a brick to gain acess to the garage and a door was also pried open to enter the school. The 16-year-old male, and the female were remanded to the East Ferry Juvenile Detention Center in Buffalo. The 17-year-old male was sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on $5,000 bail.

After the initial incident, the board was grateful for the response from the community, the school and law enforcement. Despite the unusual circumstances, the incident didn’t come as surprise to Randolph Superintendent Kaine Kelly.

“It was a fairly serious situation, really nothing new as far as what happened,” Kelly said. “We’re very proud of the way our staff, especially our maintenance and transportation staff, handled it,” Kelly said.

Kelly was just as grateful for the fact that efforts to blame were not being made in the aftermath.

“When you work so closely with people, every once in a while you get caught up with picking up faults and trying to fix things. They were really on top of things that morning and the communication with us was quick and they were super helpful that day,” Kelly said in reference to Randolph Children’s Home.

In addition, Kelly also expressed thanks to law enforcement and the community for their responses.

“It’s a testament to the increased law enforcement presence we have here with our SRO (school resource officer) and the state troopers stopping by regularly,” Kelly added.

Finally, Kelly expressed gratitude to the rest of the of school staff for making the rest of Monday’s school period run smoothly. He also was thankful that very few classes were disrupted in the aftermath of the incident.

Kelly said the decision was made to close off the impacted areas of the school for the whole day. The decision was made to conduct the classes in the school library.

“We ended up deciding to have it be all day because we made the decision to disinfect the rooms and really give them a thorough cleaning,” Kelly said. “They taught all day long in the library and didn’t miss a beat — it was impressive.”

The topic then turned to increasing security on the school grounds as well as cooperating with the Children’s Home.

Kelly said the board will meet Tuesday with representatives of the Children’s Home, Randolph Academy Union Free School District and local law enforcement to discuss the ongoing situation.

“There has been an increased presence in the community (of the Children’s Home) over the last month,” Kelly added.

At the same time, Kelly also said that he would be willing to help the agency in any predicament it might be in.

“I had a couple of conversations with Lori Decarlo (Randolph Academy superintendent) about offering any support I can give or resources I can lend to it from an advocacy standpoint to fix whatever we’ve got going on,” he said.

Other members were quick to respond. Most were concerned that there were no alarms on the grounds.

“I was surprised that no one knew that they thought we had an alarm on the school,” Vice President Julie Milliman said. “No one knew until they got to school that someone was in the classroom.”

Kelly described that often most school districts with and without alarms vary.

“Some have them and some don’t,” he explained. “Any time you have an incident it’s time to pause and look at your procedures and reevaluate.”

“With the Children’s Home we have had other instances in the community before and they’re not going anywhere,” Milliman explained.

In other news, the board approved the purchase of a plow truck and a new school bus.