Band director speaks out amid controversy

Published 8:39 am Tuesday, June 4, 2024

By Joseph DiCristofaro
The Ironton Tribune

During May, Ironton High School Band Director Anthony Nolan had the police called on him to his place of employment twice, the last on May 17 resulting in him getting placed on administrative leave.
On May 17, according to the police report, the police were called on Nolan for grabbing a student from Rock Hill High School by his hair and escorting him to the auditorium. The report said that both the student and his mother advised that they were joking and that they have a great relationship.
“The student I was accused of abusing came into my office, and I informed him in a light-hearted manner, that he was not supposed to be here and that he was no longer my student,” Nolan said. “And that I was not responsible for him and that he couldn’t be in the band room area and needed to be somewhere where he wouldn’t get in trouble.”
“I informed him that I would grab him by the head of his hair and drag him down the hall, I placed my hand above his head, I very gently and lightly grabbed a little tuft of it, and we began walking out of the band room,” Nolan said. “Smiling and laughing in full view of a camera in the building hallway, we then entered the cafeteria where the art gallery show is in front of dozens of people.”
“I was unaware of anyone watching me because these are my normal antics and this is how I interact with children as an educator, I do not cross inappropriate boundaries, I establish age-appropriate relationships always,” Nolan said. “This is a relationship I have established with this child because I taught him at Rock Hill and began him on his instrument.”
According to Nolan the person who called the police only viewed the camera footage before placing the call and did not ask him about the situation.
“They only viewed the camera footage, they did not even ask me what was going on,” Nolan said. “It is not protocol to just review footage without interviewing individuals involved to get the full story.”
Following this event Nolan was placed on administrative leave on May 20.
The Tribune has reached out to the Ironton Board of Education, but they have yet to comment on the matter.
This was not the first time that the police had been called on Nolan. The first time was on May 7 when Nolan was taking a telehealth appointment in the parking lot of Ironton Middle School, where he assisted the band director.
During the appointment in the parking lot, Nolan said two police cruisers entered the parking lot and asked why he was there, he informed them that he was an employee.
“Stephen Carpenter (IMS Principal) revealed that they saw someone on the camera on the lawn across from the playground at the elementary school in a lawn chair reclining and taking pictures of students.”
Nolan said he was dressed professionally and sitting in a straight-back band chair and was in a different location than the person allegedly taking pictures of students.
“That does not make sense because it does not match my description and location,” Nolan said.
Nolan said he and Carpenter entered a conference room where Superintendent Joseph Geletka and Ironton High School Assistant Principal Nicholas Basham were already sitting.
“Geletka presented his phone with a blurry image, I pointed out some details, that the individual is wearing black pants, and has on a light-colored shirt, and based upon the brown smudge he could see that the individual is African American,” Nolan said.
“Mr. Geletka said that he knows about microaggressions and racism,” Nolan said. “I told him again that I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about the fact that I do not fit the description of the individual that Mr. Carpenter said that was seen.”
Following the events on May 7 Nolan said he was informed by Basham that Geletka wanted him to go home for the remainder of the day.

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