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Edinburgh parents quiz, superintendent defends restaurant giveaway

The Superintendent of the Edinburgh Community School Corporation is defending his decision to accept a donation and publicly thank a business associated with a registered sex offender.

On September 2, the Edinburgh Community School Corporation’s Facebook page shared a message thanking several companies for donating money to the school’s initiative to provide students with free entry to high school sporting events. . One company credited in the post is Big Red’s Place.

The Edinburgh restaurant is listed as the workplace of Willard Hadley, who was convicted of rape in 1999 and sexual misconduct with a minor in 2004, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Registry.

Christy Kean, the parent of an Edinburgh Community High School pupil, said Hadley owns the restaurant and goes by the nickname “Red”. When the Daily Journal contacted Big Red’s Place, the owner said his name was Red Hadley but did not reveal his legal name.

Edinburgh Schools Superintendent Ron Ross said he decided to accept the donation because the money was for a good cause. School officials do not do background checks on donors and do not plan to do so in the future, Ross said.

Ross said he was unsure how much money the restaurant had given as a third party collected donations from various businesses in Edinburgh.

“We take money all the time and there are no strings attached to that money,” he said. “We thank everyone who gives us money. It’s a legit business, it’s a restaurant, they don’t do any illegal activities. There is no reason for us to do background checks. We are unable to refuse to accept money from people who can donate money for students.

Kean objected to school officials promoting the company’s name on Facebook.

“If they’re going to fire a registered sex offender after being told about it, is it because they don’t care? Do they want the money or don’t they care that the guy is a sex offender? said Kean. “Imagine being one of Hadley’s victims or his victim’s parent and seeing a school publicly thank the monster that raped you or sexually abused your child. It’s just horrible to imagine.

Kean said she spoke to Ross and asked him to remove the part of the post thanking Big Red’s Place, and she and another parent expressed their concerns on Facebook, but Ross defended the decision not to remove it.

“Two people asked out of a community of thousands. Everyone in that community frequents this business. Most people recognize that just because that person gave money doesn’t mean they has access to students. It’s illegal for him to be on school property,” Ross said. “We plan to keep the donation and we want to thank the company. There’s some misperception of thank the person instead of thanking the business. We don’t know if that person is a sole proprietor. Businesses don’t necessarily have a criminal record and when a business gives us money, we accept it. We we make sure to do well with this money.