SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced charges against three current and former administrators in the Scranton School District Wednesday. This comes after a grand jury report found they failed to protect the health and safety of students and staff.
Those arrested Wednesday were former Scranton School District Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, former Chief Operating Officer Jeff Brazil and current maintenance supervisor Joseph Slack.
Kirijan and Brazil are charged with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person on the basis of lead and asbestos, while Slack is charged with the same felonies, but for ongoing lead problems.
“I think we can all agree that our children deserve to be safe at school, period,” Shapiro said.
Parent to three children in the Scranton School District, Vivian Williams, agrees with Shapiro.
“My kids have been in Francis Willard for eight years now, one of the oldest buildings in the district and I expressed my concern that in the eight years, how do I know what they were exposed to and what wasn’t,” Williams said.
Williams does not blame the current administration.
“I think the attorney general’s words were very poignant and true,” Williams said.
Those words of Shapiro, expressing the failure of Kirijan, Brazil and Slack when exiting the district, to let the new administration know of ongoing environmental problems from 2016 to 2019.
“Once we notified the current leadership of these issues, I want to be very clear, they took immediate action,” Shapiro said.
Those actions including closing down several schools, moving students, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix the problems at hand.
“We immediately started to do what we needed to do, this administration and this school board, with regards to the asbestos and lead problems,” Scranton School District Superintendent Melissa McTiernan said.
Shapiro made it a point to say in the news conference Wednesday that this is still an active investigation and there will be more to come.