BALDWINSVILLE — In the wake of his Oct. 7 arrest for driving while intoxicated, Baldwinsville Central School District Superintendent Jason Thomson has been placed on administrative leave.
The Baldwinsville Board of Education called an emergency meeting Oct. 10 in which they remained in executive session for about four hours before voting to place Thomson on leave pending an investigation.
BCSD Public Information Specialist Sarah Buckshot confirmed to the Messenger that Thomson is on paid leave.
Joe DeBarbieri has been named acting superintendent of schools. DeBarbieri served as acting superintendent while previous superintendent Matt McDonald was on leave in 2020 and after McDonald resigned in February 2021.
BOE President Jennifer Patruno read a statement at the Oct. 10 meeting. She said Thomson’s “actions placed the student body and community at risk.”
Thomson was seen crowd-surfing at the varsity football team game Oct. 7, where students told district staff they suspected he was intoxicated. He was arrested later that evening and charged with DWI, failure to utilize a turn signal and no front license plate. His blood alcohol level was .15%, nearly twice the legal limit of .08%.
“The district continues to work with the Baldwinsville Police Department and is also investigating the events of the evening. While the investigations are ongoing, no further comments by the school district will be made,” Patruno said. “The board supports Mr. DeBarbieri as he works with students, staff and the community through this challenging time.”
In a press conference Oct. 10 at Baldwinsville Village Hall, BPD Chief Mike Lefancheck said his department’s investigation “is pretty much over.”
“We’ll forward it to the district attorney’s office for prosecution and disposition at the Village Court,” Lefancheck said.
Thomson is due in Baldwinsville Village Court on Oct. 26.
According to Lefancheck, when Baldwinsville police officers asked Thomson how much he’d had to drink, the superintendent responded, “Too much.”
The Oct. 7 incident was Thomson’s first encounter with Baldwinsville police, the chief said. Lefancheck said Thomson was “remorseful.”
“He indicated that he didn’t want there to be a black mark against Baldwinsville,” Lefancheck said.
Lefancheck praised the students who came forward with their concerns about Thomson’s conduct at the game.
“I think it took a great deal of courage on their part,” he said. “It’s not a very easy thing for someone in junior high or high school to do, so they should be commended for that.”