After "hit list," parents question C-R safety


Parents of Cobleskill-Richmondville students are seeking a community meeting to make sure kids are safe in school.
The effort comes in the wake of the "hit list" that clouded the last days of the school year at Golding Middle School.
Rumors about a list of students who would be hurt at a dance forced that June dance to be canceled. School officials and Cobleskill Police never found that list, but another list naming 25 students who'd be injured at a Golding field day surfaced a week later.
No students were hurt. Authorities found no suspects and therefore made no arrests in either incident.
Parents last week were concerned that there's been no resolution to the cases, nor any word from school officials about what to expect in September.
Parent Karen O'Connor and about a half-dozen other parents met Friday at Iorio Park to discuss what to do.
Middle School Principal Scott McDonald was also at the meeting and said orientation for sixth-graders this year will have eighth-graders be peer leaders and talk to the incoming students about getting along, kindness and dealing with rumors, such as those that fueled the hit-list scare.
Parents thought the new orientation was a good idea but also wanted a broader approach that involved the community.
Ms. O'Connor said that a public meeting could focus on student safety, security and bullying.
"This is a great community, but a lot of parents feel it's unsafe," she said. "They're worried about their children."
She spoke about such a meeting with Cobleskill Mayor Linda Holmes, who picked up on the idea.
"It's not going to be mudslinging and complaining," Mayor Holmes said. "It's all about being proactive and positive.
"It's like the old African proverb: 'It takes a village to raise a child.' "
School board President Bruce Tryon also endorsed the meeting, adding that there's "nothing more important to this board and me personally than the safety of each and every student."
Usually a superintendent might take the lead in such a meeting, but because Lynn Macan is leaving and Carl Mummenthey is starting soon, Mr. Tryon felt he should take a more active role.
Mr. Tryon said he spoke with Mayor Holmes Monday afternoon, and the two will be planning the meeting.
Ms. O'Connor added that she'd like to invite all C-R principals, Police Chief Rich Bialkowski and parents to the meeting.
"We want it to be completely positive," Ms. O'Connor said.