Important and Concerning Information — Oct. 27
Dear Students, Families and Staff,
I cannot tell you how upset I am to be sending you this note. We wanted you to be aware of this information quickly and decided that it was important to communicate directly with all of you at the same time.
We have just been informed that Mr. Carusone, BHS physics teacher and JV golf coach, has been arrested and is being charged with crimes involving the possession and online sharing of child pornography (see press release and materials from the United States Attorney’s Office here).
Mr. Carusone will not be returning to BCSD in any capacity, at any time.
Law enforcement officials informed us last Friday night that that they had just completed a search of Mr. Carusone’s home. We were told that devices belonging to Mr. Carusone had been seized and what the nature of their investigation was. We immediately placed Mr. Carusone on leave, froze his access to all electronic resources, and directed him to not be anywhere near BCSD property or to have contact with anyone at BCSD other than those who he would need to discuss his employment status with. We have worked closely with the law enforcement task force since last week and will continue to do so. We are actively pursuing Mr. Carusone’s immediate dismissal and the revocation of his teaching certificate.
Mr. Carusone joined Brighton High School first in 2001 for one year before leaving to teach in Rush Henrietta and East Irondequoit until he rejoined the District in 2015. He had been the JV golf coach since 2002 and was an assistant boys basketball coach in 2017 and 2018. He also advised the League of Brighton club in 2020.
Throughout Mr. Carusone’s career, there was never a report of questionable behavior or activity. The District was never given any reason to suspect illegal and inappropriate behavior in any way. A background check and employment screening are required prior to hiring. His screening included a search of the New York State Sex Offender Registry. That screening came through with approval through the State Education Department. However, students and their families should expect us to maintain an environment that is safe from predatory behavior.
Over the last several days, we learned that while several students were carrying out their normal activities in his classroom, there were times when Mr. Carusone recorded them without their knowledge. These recordings were not of any students engaged in any inappropriate activity and were of fully clothed students. They were often from behind and they were done without the knowledge of the students who were recorded.
At this time, the FBI does not believe that any images of BHS students were shared and that none of the pornography on his seized devices involved BHS students in any way. However, this deplorable conduct still represents a dramatic invasion of student privacy and a violation of the trust put in all of us as caregivers at school. I cannot tell you how sorry and angered we are that this occurred.
Our own internal investigation and the investigation being conducted by law enforcement will continue. Students who may have been recorded and their families will be contacted by the FBI by Friday to discuss this matter further.
I am exceptionally proud of the caring and supportive adults that you work with and the environment that our students come to every day, which makes it all the more difficult to be informing you of this incredible failure. I do not believe in any way that this situation represents the staff that you put your trust in and I hope that you can count on us to support you as you process this situation.
Students: Over the next several days there will be opportunities for every one of you to meet with our counseling staff and staff from Bivona, the experts supporting young people in these situations. We will continue to be there for you and to assist you in getting your questions answered and your concerns addressed. Grade level assemblies have been scheduled for all BHS students. Specific classroom meetings will also take place with all of Mr. Carusone’s current classes. More details will be shared by Dr. Hall. Please reach out directly to your counselor if you would like to discuss this issue before having an in-class opportunity to do so.
Students and families: We will be hosting a community discussion regarding this issue on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the BHS Auditorium. Representatives from the District, Bivona, and law enforcement will all be there to answer your questions and discuss your concerns.
Staff: We will be processing this information together at BHS in a staff meeting after school and in a K-12 Zoom meeting later in the day. Details will be shared internally. We will be there to support you and to work together to support our students and families. I continue to have the utmost confidence in you and know that our students will be so well supported by each of you.
To all of you: This should never, ever have happened and we are so very sorry and angry that it did. We often talk about the trust placed in us and the need to care for and support each child as if they were our own children. This ethic of care can be seen throughout each day. However, the behavior and betrayal of one person in this incident was a failure in our obligation in every way. Our response now and in the coming days will be the first steps in reinforcing the great good that is done by so many in this organization and our commitment to a trusting relationship with all of you.
If you have additional questions, concerns, or information you feel you need to share with law enforcement, please contact the FBI’s confidential tip line at: 585-279-0085
Again, I am so sorry that you have all been let down. We will be there for you.
Kevin McGowan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Additional contact information and resources for support at home are below.
BIVONA Child Advocacy Center – (585) 935-7800
FBI’s confidential tip line: 585-279-0085
Brighton Central School District Contacts
Superintendent Dr. Kevin McGowan email@example.com
Brighton High School Principal Dr. Tom Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Twelve Corners Middle School Principal Danielle Edmunds email@example.com
French Road Elementary School Principal LaShara Evans firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Rock Primary School Principal Matt Tappon email@example.com