Residents raise concern about presence of teen facing sexual assault charges

by Judy Stringer

May 13 school board meeting

Hudson City School administrators came under fire from a handful of residents angry the district did not remove a student who is accused of sexual assault.

In January, the Summit County Court of Common Pleas charged Hudson High School senior Jeremiah Stoehr for the rape and kidnapping of a 9-year-old child. Copies of the indictment were disseminated on social media, but a May 14 search for a case docket could not be found on the clerk of court’s website. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the docket was removed after a judge granted the defense attorney’s request to seal the documents from public view. The May 10 article also stated that Stoehr has pled not guilty to a total of five felony counts related to a Dec. 2 incident.

At the May 13 school board meeting, Superintendent Dana Addis read to the board information that he said had been disseminated to Hudson families one week earlier. In that statement, Addis explained that the court had not limited the student’s attendance and also granted requests from the defense that “the student be allowed to attend several school-related events while under supervision.”

He added that the student had agreed “not to attend school graduation or any other activities pertaining to Hudson High School for the rest of the year.” Addis refrained from using the student’s name and requested public commenters do so as well.

Several residents, including Hudson High School student Samuel Stevenot, addressed the board to question why Stoehr was not restricted to private and/or remote instruction. Stevenot referred specifically to the 2021 suspension of two high schoolers that made racist comments on a gaming site.

“If students can be thrown out of the school for alleged comments on a game, how can a student not be possibly thrown out of the school for what people could deem as a worse act?” he asked.

Resident Arabella Feil also called it “inexcusable” that the district did not inform parents and students about the indictment sooner and allowed him to attend school functions.  

“This is a place where students are supposed to feel safe, and they don’t because of your decisions,” Feil said.

Later in the meeting, Addis emphasized that the school district has no “jurisdiction” over the fate of a student who has been accused of a crime that occurs off campus.

Five-year forecast

The board approved a resolution accepting Treasurer Phil Butto’s May update to the five-year forecast. Butto expects the $29.4 million cash balance to remain largely intact, as $76.8 in 2024 expenses only eclipse revenue by about $21,000. In 2028, the cash balance will stand at an estimated $30.5 million with revenue and expenses each growing by roughly $10 million in that time period.

School calendar

The district is accepting feedback for the proposed 2025-2026 and 2026-2027 school calendar until June 17, according to Assistant Superintendent Doreen Osmun, who presented the school dates to the board and community. The first day of school for 2025-2026 is Wednesday, Aug 13, and the last day is Thursday, May 28. Start and end dates for 2026-2027 are Wednesday, Aug. 12, and Thursday, May 27, respectively. Each year includes a three-day Thanksgiving break, two full weeks for winter break and one week for spring break. The board will vote to approve the calendar proposal at its June 24 meeting.

Agenda update

The board will not alter the way it preserves meeting minutes, board member Alisa Wright explained at the April 22 meeting. Wright and Tom Tobin had taken on the task of reviewing board policy in response to resident Kathy Lowman’s repeated requests to include her written comments – submitted to the board after she reads them at the meeting – as part of the official meeting minutes.

Wright said the district maintains written comments as part of the public record, but the board will not begin including public comments with its minutes.

“There does not seem to be any legal requirements with respect to the public comments portion of our meetings,” she said. “As recently as 2022, The Ohio School Board Association has taken the position that in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Orders the minutes are a record of what is done at meetings, not what was said at meetings.”

Wright also noted that the archived recordings of Hudson board meetings allow viewers to link directly to the public comment portion of the meeting. She said the board will continue to research the possibility of putting a link to the recording in the electronic copy of the minutes. ∞