Parents demanded answers last night at Stony Brook Elementary School - and many feel the school administration came up short. Stony Brook principal Mary Pat Allen, no stranger herself to the criminal process, described accused teacher Noah Campbell-Halley as "someone we'd gotten to know and love" and as a trusted colleague. Nauset Superintendent Tom Conrad said the revelations made him "distraught" and "sick to my stomach" as hundreds of parents parents listened.
In court yesterday, prosecutors described incidents where Campbell-Halley allegedly took students to a server room adjacent to his classroom - which alleged victims referred to as the "dark room" - allegedly showed the kids "scary and inappropriate" videos and touched them on the genitals, touch each other or touch him. Meanwhile, the students in his classroom were left unattended while the teacher was in the closed "dark room" with the alleged victims.
One of many questions that remain unanswered is where the administration was when children were left unattended in a classroom. In many schools, administrators "walk the classrooms" periodically and without warning. Apparently such surprise visits don't occur at Stony Brook.
Many people question Principal Allen's moral authority to lead the school through this crisis after herself being embroiled in a case where she was charged with breaking into an ex-boyfriend's apartment where she allegedly stole sex toys and a book. The charges were subsequently dropped, with Ms. Allen making a $350 restitution payment to a Belchertown woman. Principal Allen, who had been placed on administrative leave, was then reinstated by Superintendent Conrad.
Superintendent Conrad has never responded to an email from CCToday asking whether he would employ Ms. Allen next school year.
Ms. Allen's scandal will likely be a factor when civil lawsuits start playing out in the Campbell-Halley matter. One can only imagine the questions when lawyers depose the principal. Depending on the ultimate number of victims that come forward, the Town of Brewster could face millions of dollars in liability.
Meanwhile, Noah Campbell-Halley is being held on $25,000 cash bail and a set of stringent restrictions, including GPS monitoring, should he make bail. He faces three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child, two counts of rape of a child and one count of intimidating a witness.
In a snap poll CCToday conducted yesterday, 48% of those responding voted no confidence in both Superintendent Conrad and Principal Allen. 7% voted no confidence in only Mr. Conrad and 19% voted no confidence in only Ms. Allen. Only 26% of those responding expressed confidence in the leadership of Stony Brook School. If you haven't voted yet, please participate here.