A concerned grandmother and two other parents from a New York school district were arrested, charged with trespassing, and barred from attending a school board meeting on Oct. 26. Daily Wire reported that the meeting took place just days after a school principal accused of sexually assaulting dozens of students was released on bail.
After making bond, Kirk Ashton, the former principal of Northwood Elementary School, was released from jail on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Ashton has served as principal of the school since 2004. During his 17 years at Hilton, he has been accused of sexually abusing children several times.
At least 26 people have come forward to accuse Ashton of sexual assault. Since his arrest, his bond has been reduced many times, most recently to $100,000, which he finally posted on Monday, Oct. 18.
After pleading not guilty to 25 charges in April, Ashton resigned in September.
According to the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, Ashton’s home will be monitored electronically. Sandra Doorley, the Monroe County District Attorney, said in a statement:
“In anticipation of his release, the Greece Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office are aware of the situation and will be monitoring closely. The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office is prepared to bring this case to trial as soon as possible.”
Ashton, the former principal of Northwood Elementary School in the Hilton Central School District, is still being paid by the district after being charged with dozens of child sex crimes.
Last month, Superintendent Casey Kosiorek issued an email to parents informing parents of Ashton’s release day:
“I have been informed that former Northwood Principal, Kirk Ashton, was released from jail today. The district will have additional security present outside Northwood tomorrow. In addition, I will be there, along with other administrators from District Office. We will also have several additional counseling staff available for students and staff throughout the day.”
Parents then attended the Hilton Central School District school board meeting to get their concerns and questions answered. Instead, they were denied access to the meeting—removed to a school parking lot—and accused of being “insurrectionists” by security.
Three of them were arrested and charged with trespassing, with one of them being followed home and ticketed by deputies after they agreed to let her go home to take medicine.
When questioned why other parents who were reportedly following their instructions were not allowed to attend the meeting, Hilton Central School District Communications Director Grace Scism responded via email, “The Board of Education looks forward to hearing public comments at future meetings. We request that all community members follow Board of Education and New York State protocols. The meetings are conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order.”
Dawn Fox, a 53-year-old grandmother of a Hilton Central student, was detained for reportedly refusing to leave the school. She told The Daily Wire she peacefully left the auditorium, as did the other woman. However, they were eventually charged with trespassing for being outside in a parking lot with others.
“You want me arrested for asking you questions?” Fox recalled the incident.
Fox told the deputies she wanted to go home to take her medicine. They agreed and followed her home. When she got home, she was given a ticket for trespassing at the school.
Shanierae Iorio, 42, was also charged with trespassing and handcuffed. James Burroughs was also charged with trespassing after refusing to put on a mask while waiting for school board members in the auditorium.
“All of a sudden, a security guard disrupted what we’re doing and told us we have to leave, so we all got up and we left. He said if you don’t leave you’re gonna be arrested,” the grandmother said.
Following the request to leave the auditorium, some parents became aware that the school board meeting proceeded without them.
While parents gathered outside, the video shows security directed authorities to arrest Fox. It was most likely because she was outspoken and insisted on not going.
Fox’s lawyer Daniel E. Strollo later accused the district of “weaponizing arbitrary mask policies to silence parents and community members who are rightfully speaking out against arbitrary and oppressive policies.”
Fox expressed her concern about what happened to Ashton.
“We wanted to know what was going on … What is actually going on [with curriculum]? … We don’t like the whole masking and we’re concerned the vaccine will become mandated for students, soon.”
“I’m disappointed that they couldn’t even face us,” Fox added. “They didn’t even come out and talk to us, at all.”
An anonymous parent told The Daily Wire that Dave Inzana, the school board’s head of security, was the one who told them not to hold the meeting with the parents because they were staging an “insurrection.”
“He (Inzana) told the school board there was an insurrection going on and not to come out,” the parent said. “Then [he] told the parents the board refused to come out because parents weren’t wearing masks.”
On Monday, Scism emailed The Daily Wire about the claims against Inzana: “The statement regarding our Head of Security is erroneous as he did not state that parents were inciting an insurrection.”
Last week, The Daily Wire contacted Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter’s office to inquire why the parents were arrested and charged with trespassing. The sheriff’s office forwarded our message to Hilton Central’s communication director, who responded as follows:
On Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at the request of the Hilton Central School District, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Hilton Central School Board Meeting at 225 West Ave., Hilton. Three individuals were asked repeatedly by school staff to leave the property and refused. As a result, MCSO issued appearance tickets to three individuals for Trespass (a violation):
James Burroughs, 45, Hilton
Shanierae Iorio, 42, Hilton
Dawn Fox, 53, Hilton
The following is the entirety of Strollo’s statement:
“On Oct. 26, 2021, Dawn Fox sought to attend a Board of Education meeting at the Hilton Central School District. Ms. Fox had an absolute and unequivocal right to attend that meeting under New York’s Open Meetings Law (Public Officers Law Article 7) and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Hilton School District violated Ms. Fox’s rights by kicking her out of that meeting.
“They then compounded their wrongful conduct. The Hilton School District then lied to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which resulted in Ms. Fox’s arrest for trespassing.
“Mr. David Inzana signed a document—under penalty of perjury—alleging that at 8:05 p.m., Ms. Fox trespassed at the school “due to the fact that the board of education meeting had ended and she no longer had legitimate business being on the property.”
“A video of the board meeting shows that this is entirely false. The Hilton School District’s video shows the board meeting was very much still going on at 8:05 p.m. A clock in that video shows that the meeting was going on before 8:00 p.m. and continuing until almost 8:30 p.m.
“This is yet another example of school district officials weaponizing arbitrary mask policies to silence parents and community members who are rightfully speaking out against arbitrary and oppressive policies.
“I anticipate that the baseless criminal charges against Ms. Fox will be dismissed, and I can assure you that we are exploring all options to hold the Hilton School District accountable for its wrongful conduct.
“School officials must understand that they are not kings, and boardrooms are not their castle. As far as Ms. Scism’s comments are concerned, the School District ought to be reminded that the Open Meetings Law is not merely a suggestion that they are free to disregard at their whim.”