Administrative leave for assistant principal

Saturday, Sept. 5 
Response to a social media video of district employee at the Rochester protest

As we have stated consistently and clearly, Spencerport Central School District stands in solidarity in support of racial equality and systemic change.

We remain committed to this change, and want all of our families to know we further stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters. However, when a District employee uses language in public or on social media that does not align with our Code of Conduct or demonstrate appropriate role modeling for students, that is something that we will not condone. These statements by our administrator have caused disruption within our school community.

We apologize to our students, parents and community that you had to hear this language from one of our employees.

This will be addressed as a confidential, personnel matter.

Mon., Sept. 7
High school administrator placed on leave
Mr. Steven Lysenko is a tenured administrator with due process rights. He has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

We appreciate the outpouring of emails, posts and comments regarding this matter, and we hope you understand that given this is a pending investigation we are unable to respond. Thank you for your patience.

Tue., Sept. 8

Joint statement from OPD Police Chief and SCSD Superintendent

We wanted to come together to make this joint statement today, as we hope that it will be a reflection of our close-knit community of Spencerport.

The Spencerport School District and Ogden Police Department have an established, longstanding partnership that has withstood the best of times, as well as the most challenging of times such as like in this year of 2020. 

It is important for us to remain unified, and therefore we wanted you to know that we have been in constant communication. We feel that:

this is a process, and we must follow all appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of this personnel investigation;
The differences in opinions are clear, and it is certainly an example of the free speech we all cherish in this country; 
people may have disagreements, but they are still your friends and neighbors.
our responsibility as educators and police officers is to respect the ability to peacefully protest.

With the latter, we understand that there are peaceful protests planned for this evening, and we encourage participants to remain respectful. We also ask that any protestors maintain the boundaries established by our security team and OPD in order to ensure the safety of all involved on our school property. 

We love our Spencerport community, and want you to know we will get through this together.

Christopher Mears
Chief of Police
Ogden Police Department
Dan Milgate

Tue., Sept 8
Letter to families
Dear Students, Parents and Families,

I wanted to reach out to all of you today with an update regarding Mr. Steven Lysenko. As you probably are aware, the circumstances and magnitude of this weekend’s events has resulted in the decision to place Mr. Lysenko on administrative leave, and we posted this information on our website. 

Because it is a personnel matter, we appreciate your understanding that we must proceed with the utmost confidentiality and integrity of the ensuing investigation.

While the investigation is ongoing, Mr. Bill Jacoutot has agreed to take the role of Interim Assistant Principal. Jacoutot has continued to be a familiar face through the years, and was our longtime wrestling coach for 30 years before his retirement in 2009. I am very pleased to have him on our team to fill the duties of assistant principal for our 9th grade, as well as our high school academy to help support us our students.

I also want to address some of the concerns I am hearing from the community. First, as students return to school next week, please know that our security team is prepared to ensure the same level of safety within the district to which we have always been committed. 

We have been in constant contact with the Ogden Police Department, and want to express our deepest appreciation for their continued expertise and presence as we navigate this unfamiliar national attention. As our staff returned today and students next week, we want to assure you that, without hesitation, OPD has indicated that they will continue their daily patrols in our hallways and campus. We want to publicly express our deepest appreciation to the Ogden Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for their partnerships.

This situation has doubtlessly been difficult for many of our students and staff. Counselors are always available to support students with any concerns they have. Students should reach out via email to their respective counselors, or our Family Support Center

Through all of this, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the emails, notes and phone calls. My focus remains on the well-being of our staff, students and learning community, and further ensuring a healthy and safe reopening. 

Dan Milgate
Superintendent of Schools

Tue., Sept 8
Board of Education statement

Board President Kevin Hutton offered the following statement at the beginning of the Sept. 8 meeting:

I want to share an update regarding Mr. Steven Lysenko. 

As you are probably are aware, the video involving Mr Lysenko and, its related disruption, has resulted in the decision to place him on administrative leave.

It is a personnel matter, because he is a tenured employee, NYS Education Law, mandates we proceed with the utmost confidentiality for the integrity of the ensuing investigation.

While we respect and value individuals’ rights to free speech and due process, we must understand there may be consequences when our conduct disrupts our educational environment and impairs our schools operation. 

The districts responsibility is to foster a safe environment for our learning community, the divisive impact of Mr Lysenko’s comments and its aftermath have compromised the districts ability to fulfill its mission. 

Our focus must remain on the well-being of our staff, students and learning community.

Fri., Sept. 11
Superintendent's message

Dear Staff, Parents and Families,

This Friday update begins with what this date means to our country, and remembering the lives lost on 9/11. It is a date in our history that many of us recall the exact moment when time stood still. Today I made the time to pause and reflect on the victims, their families, and of course, the heroes who responded. I hope you do as well.

I can certainly understand our families are expecting updates on Mr. Steven Lysenko and the status of his administrative leave. Mr. Lysenko is a tenured administrator. This means he is not an employee at-will. Rather, NYS Education Law provides all tenured educators in NYS rights, including the right to due process and confidentiality. That reality places all of us - you included - in an incredibly difficult position.

I will share with you that this has been on my mind, 24/7. I think about what students, staff and parents must be going through – first with the complexities around the reopening of school and now with our district being placed in the national spotlight with polarizing opinions flooding our community.

Please know you are all at the forefront of my thoughts and decisions for this district. Our Board of Education, leadership team, faculty and staff understand our responsibility is to the students, and that focus and mission will always remain as our guide. I have walked through our school hallways this week, welcoming back our teachers and staff, and am so humbled by the outpouring of support and willingness to do whatever it takes for our students.

Our students’ safety and well-being comes first. For the past few years, we have worked really hard on Culturally Responsive Education, diversity, equity, and social justice. We are committed to continuing this work now more than ever. We know we need to do better. Our goal is to lead systemic change both from within and around our learning community. We will start by organizing restorative conversations and opportunities in the coming days and weeks. We will communicate more on this once details become available.

Earlier this week, we made a statement, in which we appealed to our community to respect differences among us, while always remembering we are all still friends and neighbors. These are difficult times, but we are a close-knit community. We will get through this together.

Dan Milgate
Superintendent of Schools