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Mom brings bullying concerns to Rome School Board

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
Posted 11/30/22

The Rome City School District Board of Education welcomed new member Jeff DeMatteis at their regular monthly meeting Monday.

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Mom brings bullying concerns to Rome School Board


ROME — The Rome City School District Board of Education welcomed new member Jeff DeMatteis at their regular monthly meeting Monday. DeMatteis was appointed to fill the vacancy after former member Anna Megerell resigned effective Sept. 11 and will serve through the board’s next annual meeting and election.

Mother says goodbye to Denti district

During the public commentary portion of the meeting, Denti Elementary School district resident Jenna Parkosewich gave a tearful explanation to the board as to why her family will not be district residents much longer.

Parkosewich passed out folders of papers and photos to the board members and took several minutes to compose herself - even receiving a box of tissues — before starting her impassioned address to the board. Her son is in kindergarten at Denti, she explained, and has suffered bullying abuse and been “physically assaulted on multiple occasions” there with what seems to be little recourse.

“Nobody is helping me,” she said.

He cries every night because he does not want to go back to school, Parkosewich said. Now, they have decided they have no choice but to take a loss on their house to move away from that district. It will now not only lose a child who wants to learn but a mom who is very involved with groups like the PTO, she said.

While her son will no longer be at the school after December, Parkosewich said she still felt it was important to address the board because there are still 27 other children in that classroom to consider.

Fellow Denti district resident Steven Abbe then rose unplanned from the audience to echo Parkosewich’s concerns, saying his family is considering homeschooling rather than sending their daughter to the school.

“My daughter feels the same way,” Abbe told the board, again citing the bullying and lack of support.

While they had thought it was one of the best schools in the area, now they are about to the point to pull her out and homeschool her, Abbe said.

“We can take our daughter out of school, give her a laptop and she will get a better education,” he said.

In response, board member John Nash said he wanted to have a follow-up to the parents’ claims. They need some answers, Nash said, to be able to move the district forward.

Later, after the board had moved on with the meeting and in the meantime heard updates on the Technology Department and Superintendent Peter Blake’s goals, board member Cassie Knutti suddenly admitted she was having difficulty looking at the photo Parkosewich provided them of her young son.

“I am staring at this little boy and my heart is broken,” she said. Knutti pointed out the printed email conversations presented to them by Parkosewich dated back to October.

“I expect a thorough investigation into how we failed this child,” she said. “It’s disgraceful.”

DeMatteis noted he is a former Denti parent himself, and there were issues with bullying back then as well. “It is disheartening six years later to see it is still happening,” he said.

Board President Joseph Mellace called Parkosewich’s claims “gut-wrenching” and promised the board would definitely look into the situation. He added there could already have been disciplinary measures taken that could not be discussed publicly due to confidentiality concerns.

Club fair

Mellace said the board had considered welcoming members of the district’s many clubs to their meetings to hear about their activities, but decided a Club Fair where all clubs could be represented would be a better option. He noted a Club Fair at the beginning of the school year could also recruit new members.

Mobile meetings

Blake said the district is planning to hold Board of Education meetings at rotating school building locations in the new year, and are currently looking into the equipment that will be needed. He said he expects to start meeting at other buildings in January.

Next meeting

The next Board of Education meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19 at the district office, 409 Bell Road. For agendas and any other district information, visit


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