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Families Request Transparency in Fox Lane Bathroom Incidents Inquiry

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Parents of special education students photographed in the Fox Lane High School bathroom this academic year are urging Bedford Central School District officials to share as many details as possible from their investigation.

It has been confirmed that at least four students had photos taken of them and shared via social media starting earlier this school year, said Jennifer Swift, an associate attorney with the law firm of Barger & Gaines, which is representing two of the four families that had a child victimized.

Swift said the families what to know how the district is selecting its third-party investigator so they and the public can be confident it is a fully independent entity. Privacy issues will prevent some details from being released to the public, but the hope is that the district will share as much information as possible with the affected families.

“Because we know the first incident happened in September and they didn’t find out till March, it’s just really we want to make sure that everything is open,” Swift said. “We really don’t trust anybody right now. That is our biggest concern.”

Attorney Paul Barger, who is representing the two families, said his clients expect the district to keep them involved and to pledge that their children are safe in school.

“While our clients understand there are privacy concerns regarding the perpetrators, they need to know what took place and need to be involved in developing and implementing future safety protocols,” Barger said.

The district is in the midst of negotiating a contract with an unidentified firm that has been selected and will be conducting the inquiry once terms have been reached, Board of Education President John Boucher said at the board’s meeting Wednesday evening. The contract is expected to be finalized within a week, he said.

On Thursday afternoon, the district released a statement to The Examiner that school officials consider the allegations very serious and “took prompt disciplinary actions against the students responsible for the egregious acts at the high school.”

Three board members were part of a committee that interviewed and vetted investigative firms.

“All investigative firms considered by the Board are highly-reputable and very experienced in their field,” the district’s statement read. “Upon the conclusion of this selection process, an investigative firm has been chosen by the Board and a contract is currently being finalized. We expect that the professional investigation will be underway very soon. This investigation is a priority for the board. The district will provide further updates to the community, but please be aware that we will not share information that could jeopardize the integrity of this very important investigation.”

The district did not indicate low much time may be needed to complete the inquiry.

The Bedford Police Department, which had been investigating the matter, completed its work and has made a referral to the Westchester County district attorney’s office, Bedford Police Lt. Jeff Gulick said Thursday. The Examiner had reported that the district attorney’s office was involved in the investigation about two weeks ago.

Swift said that one of the law firm’s clients stated that the first known incident occurred during November and they have learned through the Bedford police that the incidents began as early as September. While parents brought the matter to the public’s intention in March, it is known with certainty when the last incident occurred.

There are also five perpetrators under investigation, and one of the four students was victimized twice, she said.

It is not known at this time whether there may be additional victims or offenders.

“Every parent should be able to trust that their school district is protecting the dignity and safety of its students,” Barger said in a statement. “This becomes even more important for students who can’t speak up for themselves.”

Editor’s Note: Information regarding the timing of the alleged incidents has been updated from the original version of the story based on clarifying information received by The Examiner.

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