Oxford Suspends Principal As It Fires Teacher's Aid Over Alleged Rape Of Student

By: Tyler Murphy

OXFORD – On Monday the Oxford Board of Education – acting on the suggestion of District Superintendent Shawn Bissetta – fired a full-time teacher's aid for having an affair with a middle school student under the age of 15, and in a separate action, suspended the building's principal.

Heaven L. Parrish, 20, of Smithville Flats was arrested on Jan. 25 for second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sex act, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She was a full-time teacher's aide at the middle school. She has pleaded not guilty.

The school suspended the Middle School Principal Heather Fredenburg for an undisclosed reason, but allegations from other staff claim the principal was being investigated for failing to act on previous complaints made about the teacher's aid.

On Tuesday the school released a statement, “The Oxford Academy and Central School District is continuing to cooperate closely with police on allegations of sexual misconduct taking place in the Village of Oxford early in 2018 involving middle school aide Heaven L. Parrish. At a board of education meeting on Monday, February 4, 2019, Parrish’s employment was terminated, and a district principal was placed on administrative leave pending outcome of an investigation.”

Bissetta said the district had no information of a current threat to student safety, if multiple students were involved, or if the alleged crimes took place at a school function or during school hours. Because the allegations involve a student, no further details will be forthcoming, reported the school.

Steven Griffin was appointed interim middle school principal. He was previously a long-term Oxford science teacher.

“Misconduct of any kind is completely unacceptable,” said Bissetta in a statement. “I’m confident that all of us in the Oxford Academy and Central School District community will together work through this difficult period. Our students’ safety and well-being are at the heart of our work as educators.”

Bissetta said, “The priority is to make sure we do a thorough investigation of any issue relating to student safety.”

Though the school posted a message on its website, no information has yet been sent to parents, he said.

When asked if the the principal's suspension was related to the recent arrest or allegations of previously made reports, Bissetta responded, “The school and the board can’t get into that right now. We will stand by the current comments we have already made on the issues.”

He also said, “What is happening at the middle school needs to play out, an investigation is ongoing.”

The New York State Police investigated an anonymous complaint of Parrish having a sexual relationship with a male youth under fifteen. They said Parrish had sexual contact with a child under the age of fifteen on two separate occasions in the Village of Oxford in early 2018.

She was arraigned in the Town of Norwich Court, remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility on $5,000 cash bail. She has since posted bail. An order of protection is issued against her for the victim, and police and the school are continuing an investigation.

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