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Baldwinsville school board puts superintendent on leave after DWI arrest

Two long desks stand at the foreground with chairs. Microphones sit on each table, with an American flag on the left hand side with a large red bee on the wall behind the tables.
Jude Bazerman
A decal of the Baldwinsville Central School District mascot, a bee, hangs on the wall where the school board meets, Oct. 10, 2022

Baldwinsville’s superintendent of schools is now on administrative leave, the school board announced following a special meeting Tuesday. Officials called the unplanned session following Superintendent Jason Thomson's recent arrest for driving under the influence.

School board officials said in a statement they’re still investigating the incident and won't be commenting on the matter in the meantime, but some community members that attended the special school board meeting are ready to replace Thomson.

Thomson was pulled over after leaving the homecoming football game where video shows he crowd surfed in the stands. Baldwinsville police said in a statement some students raised concerns at the game that Thomson had been drinking.

Sally Dayger, a former member of the Baldwinsville Central School District board of education and teacher in the district, turned up at the Tuesday meeting. She said the situation requires a commensurate response.

“It's an embarrassment to the district. It's an embarrassment to the community. And I think the community is strong enough that we will survive. And I think our school district will survive, providing the board gets the right person in,” Dayger said.

Bob Nicita, who has a son in the school district said Thomson should go.

“In my opinion, I think the superintendent should resign, or the or the school board should terminate his employment,” Nicita said.

District parent Lillian Abbott-Hook said an investigation may clarify the details around the incident, but steps should still be taken to find a new superintendent.

“It's easy to call for someone's head when you don't know what happened. But at the same time, I cannot really think of a way to explain this out of it being exactly what it is. So I think that they probably need to start the search for a new superintendent, which is a shame because the superintendent has seemed very invested in kids," Abbott-Hook said. "But you can't do that. You just can't. There's some stuff you can't do. There's a very short list of things you just can't do. And this is right at the top."

The school board has named Joseph DeBarbieri as acting superintendent.

Tarryn Mento is an award-winning digital, audio and video journalist with experience reporting from Arizona, Southern California, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Tarryn produces in-depth and investigative content for WAER while overseeing the station's student reporter experience. She is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University.
Jude is an undergraduate student who is undecided within the Newhouse and Maxwell Schools at Syracuse University, expected to graduate in May of 2026. As a field researcher, he helps cover community meetings and events for WAER. He is a proud New Jerseyan and enjoys spending quality time with his family, friends, and dog.