Rush-Henrietta School District employee accused of inappropriate contact with student, arrested
HENRIETTA, N.Y. – A Rush-Henrietta employee has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Jimmy Buntley has worked as a paraprofessional off and on at the district since 2018. He most recently worked at the high school.
In January, a student told school staff that Buntley had been messaging them inappropriately online, according to a district spokesperson. The district began investigating and contacted the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the sheriff’s office, he was arrested on Jan. 18 and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. The sheriff’s office says it is continuing to investigate.
While that investigation was underway, the district learned Buntley had been arrested in an unrelated matter and charged by Rochester Police with forcible touching. That victim is an adult, according to Rochester Police.
“We know this type of news can be unsettling to hear,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Pamela Kissel writes in a message to families. “If your family needs support, please reach out to your child’s mental school-based health professional or principal. Members of our Trauma Illness and Grief (TIG) team will be available at the Senior High School on Monday to support students and employees.”
Buntley has not been back to work in the school district since the allegations were made. Termination proceedings have begun against him, according to the district.
A spokesperson for the district says additional allegations have not been made against Buntley, but anyone with concerns should report them to the sheriff’s office by calling 911.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Pamela Kissel’s letter to families reads:
“A substitute employee, Jimmy Buntley, was arrested on January 18 by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Mr. Buntley had been working as a paraprofessional at our high school.
We have not shared this information until now because the district did not want to compromise a lengthy investigation being conducted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. That investigation is expected to conclude soon. However, a local TV station is planning to air this story tonight and we want to make sure you have accurate information before it does.
In January, a student approached a high school administrator and shared concerns regarding inappropriate electronic messaging with a staff member. We applaud this student’s courage to speak. We took the concerns seriously, began investigating, and called law enforcement. We know this announcement will be of concern to many in our school community; it is to us, too. The safety of our students and staff is paramount. Mr. Buntley had not been on campus since before December Recess, prior to the time this allegation was reported. I assure you he will not be returning to our district.
Mr. Buntley worked in many locations throughout the district since 2018. Anyone who has concerns regarding interactions with Mr. Buntley this year, or in the past, is urged to contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office by calling 911. If there is more to this story, we want to know. As this investigation unfolded, the district also learned that Mr. Buntley recently was arrested by the Rochester Police Department for an alleged crime that did not involve his employment with our district.
Rush-Henrietta values its partnership with law enforcement and will continue to cooperate fully as the investigation proceeds. Because this is a personnel matter, state law precludes the district from providing further public comment.
We know this type of news can be unsettling to hear. If your family needs support, please reach out to your child’s mental school-based health professional or principal. Members of our Trauma Illness and Grief (TIG) team will be available at the Senior High School on Monday to support students and employees. We are here for you. Let’s continue to work together to keep our school community a safe place to learn and work.”