SIDNEY — Support for the former Sidney High School school resource officer was given during Monday night’s Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting.
But before the comments were heard, the board went into executive session to discuss school security and emergency protocols for the district. No action or comments on what happened in the executive session were discussed when the board returned to the meeting.
SHS student Rebecca Wilson told the board she felt SRO Anthony Cipollone had been vilified because another student wanted attention.
“He has changed the atmosphere at the high school,” said Wilson. “This man makes me feel safe.”
Wilson, who has enlisted in the U.S. Navy, said Cipollone has given her support during her high school career.
“I can’t express how much he has changed my life,” said Wilson. “This (reassignment) has taken a toll on his life….is ruining someone’s life. He may not have a job and his credibility is gone. And all because no one will come forward and admit what happened.”
Social media, said Wilson, has reported something happened “when it didn’t.”
“This was not handled correctly,” she said. “Opinions are being put out there where his family and friends can see them.”
Wilson said she feels the results of the lie detector test haven’t been published enough.
Cipollone, who has been the SRO for two years, was reassigned after making inappropriate remarks to a female high school student. After an internal investigation at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Cipollone was assigned to another Sheriff’s Office position. He also received a seven-day, unpaid suspension for his comments and will be required to undergo inservice training on appropriate communication with students.
During the investigation, Cipollone submitted to computer voice stress analysis and was found to be nondeceptive and no deception was indicated. An interview with the female student was conducted, and she was found to be truthful. Her story was found to be similar to Cipollone’s. Interviews with Sidney school administrators were conducted.
Cipollone was issued a letter of reprimand from Sidney City Schools Superintendent John Scheu. The letter will be included in Cipollone’s personnel file. This punishment was jointly decided by Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart and Scheu.
“We think Anthony Cipollone is a good person,” said Board President Bill Ankney after Wilson concluded her comments. “We think he’ll be dealt with fairly.
“Social media gets things out there before everyone is getting the information together,” Ankney continued. “The sheriff has to deal with Anthony and he has a plan in place. We have to get ourselves back in line with the information received. With the plan in place, I think he’ll be fine.”
Bob Barnes, president of the Sidney High School Music Boosters, also addressed the board about $16,127 in donations the board would be accepting. The donations included $1,729 for orchestra uniforms; $1,398 for a keyboard and amplifier; and $13,000 monetary donation for future purchases.
“I’ve had a great six year run as president,” said Barnes. “I’d like to thank all the parents who stepped up to help. I feel very blessed. On May 18 at senior night, we will be presenting $10,000 in scholarships (to music students).”
Band director Chris Adams presented Barnes a gift in appreciation for everything he has done for the music program at the high school.
The board’s next meeting will be May 15 at 6 p.m. at the board office.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.