Holland Patent (WSYR-TV) – Parents and at least one teacher are embroiled in a debate with Holland Patent School District administration after a student died in a car accident on Tuesday.
Teacher Phil Lucason laid the blame at the feet of Superintendent Kathy Davis in a post on WKTV's Facebook page
He says the accident that led to the death of 16-year-old Anusha Yagey could have been avoided if the district had closed because of driving conditions.
“In the end a series of unfortunate events started by Kathy Davis led to the loss of a young man who was well liked by his peers, coaches, and teachers alike and loved deeply by his family who would have never knowingly put him in harms way (as her notice home implied). No one will ever know where his potential would have taken him, but we are all sad that we won't," Lucason wrote on Wednesday.
Yagey was critically injured when a car driven by his brother – 17-year-old Joseph Yagey – moved into the path of an oncoming box truck while they were on their way to school on State Route 365 in the town of Floyd.
Joseph Yagey suffered injuries that were not considered life threatening by police.
The biology teacher and cross country coach wrote that he believes an investigation into Davis should be launched.
"I am hoping that there is a full investigation into the call made by Kathy Davis. It was the worst road conditions that I have ever seen going into school in the morning.”
Lucason added that other school districts delayed opening in order to assess weather and driving conditions and went on to call into question Davis’ judgment during past storms.
“There is a history of ignoring the road conditions by Kathy Davis if she does not want to cancel or delay school such when the elementary state assessments were being held and there was icy conditions that would have warrented [sic] a delay at the minimum. Was there something so pressing that she did not want to postpone or reschedule that morning - maybe with an investigation we may find out,” Lucason wrote.
Davis issued a statement late Friday morning referencing the incident and her judgment in keeping school open.
She noted that 11 other districts in the Holland Patent area remained open and that the school’s procedure was consistent with its policies.
“We followed our same time tested procedures that we have followed over the past 30 years,” she wrote in the statement.
She also noted that her personal interaction with Anusha Yagey made the incident particularly difficult.
“My heart is heavy with grief. This tragedy has affected me in many ways. Anusha was a wonderful child who I had the great opportunity to work with over the years to ensure his transition to our country and the school district. On a personal note, this a loss that will always be in my heart and mind,” she wrote.
According to WUTR, several parents expressed outrage at the fact that the schools remained open during a Friday afternoon meeting, but the parents of fallen teenager said the questions dishonored his memory.