VALATIE — The Ichabod Crane Central School District Board of Education is receiving requests for the resignation of board member Jeffrey Ouellette after he made remarks accusing senior Trevor Wolfe, a student representative on the board, of being on drugs at the January meeting.
Concerned community members have since started an online petition calling for his resignation. As of Friday afternoon, 615 had signed the petition. Ouellette has refused to step down.
“Mr. Ouellette was requested to apologize and resign,” a statement on the Change.org petition reads. “After begrudgingly apologizing, he refused to resign. As taxpaying community members, we are asking for your help in removing Mr. Ouellette from his position as a BOE member.”
At the Feb. 4 meeting, community members showed up in support of Wolfe, who the president of the board, Matthew Nelson, called the “gold standard” of students.
“I would like to publicly state that this allegation is not true,” Wolfe said in reference to the accusations.
The board’s statement regarding the incident was read at the meeting and posted on the school’s website.
“It is our goal as District Board Members and Officers to provide for the well-being of every student and stand up for them each and every day,” the statement read. “We would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that we take this goal very seriously and we in no way condone or support any derogatory statements made about our students.”
The statement emphasized certain points of the Ichabod Crane School Board Member, District Officer and Employee Code of Ethics, “assuring the well-being of students, representing our community and our students without fear, accepting responsibility ... as a means of unselfish service, upholding the principle of individual dignity, and instilling respect.”
The statement made it clear that the other board members do not condone Ouellette’s comment.
“When any individual Board Member or District Officer fails to live up to these ethical standards, it is our duty to address that failure and not allow it to serve as a distraction from our core responsibility, which is the education and well-being of our students,” according to the statement.
At the Jan. 7 meeting Wolfe reported on various events at the high school, including the upcoming spirit week, concerts, midterms and Students Against Destructive Decisions high school students’ plans to visit the middle school students. He also noted the student body’s excitement about the new superintendent, Jason Thomas, whose first day on the job was Feb. 3.
As of Friday, Ouellette has not resigned. The Board of Education could not be reached for further comment. The next board meeting will be on Tuesday, March 3 in the high school library.
Abby Hoover is a reporter for Columbia-Greene Media. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 828-1616 ext. 2500.