Share this article

print logo

3 tell Hamburg Board Forcucci was loud, out of control

A Hamburg School Board member, a principal and the superintendent’s wife said a board member was loud and out of control before an executive session in February.

Jennifer Jetter, the wife of Superintendent Richard Jetter, said Monday night she was there to accompany her husband into the interview for the superintendent’s job. She said Board Member Catherine Schrauth Forcucci was very loud in the hall yelling at Boston Valley Principal James Martinez.

“It was horrible,” Jennifer Jetter said. “ She was completely unhinged and screaming.”

Schrauth Forcucci is facing 12 charges for what the district said is a “pattern of official misconduct.” The February incident was one of the incidents noted in the charges.

Union Pleasant Elementary Principal Jackie Peffer was in the same hallway.

“She was out of control,” Peffer said of Schrauth Forcucci.

Board Member Laura Heeter also testified to several incidents in which she said Schrauth Forcucci was loud, berated several people and got into the personal space of Jetter. She said Schrauth Forcucci was screaming during the incident with Martinez.

She said board members asked Schrauth Forcucci a number of times to go into the meeting room and to stop yelling.

Jennifer Jetter said Schrauth Forcucci “disrespected” the process. “It was a horrific experience. I wouldn’t allow my children to behave that way.”

Superintendent Jetter was the first to testify in the hearing, which has gone on about 20 hours over five sessions.

Jetter’s testimony ended Monday night, and other witnesses were called.

About 50 members of the public attended the hearing at Armor Elementary School.

At one point Monday night, Board Member Sally Stephenson said she wanted to ask questions of Jetter, and she talked of how close he said Schrauth Forcucci had been to his face. She had Schrauth Forcucci, who said she is about 5 feet 5 inches, stand next to Jetter, who said he is about 5 feet 11 inches tall.

“Can you see the difference in size?” Stephenson said.

Stephenson talked, but wasn’t getting to a question.

“Sally, this is not an attack on Dr. Jetter so we can all take shots at him,” Board Member Thomas Flynn said.

Jetter testified last week that Schrauth Forcucci screamed, yelled and got in his personal space numerous times, including once in September when he and board members were leaving a Buffalo law office and when she came to his office several weeks later.

He said she was so close to him that he could feel her saliva on his face, but he later said she did not spit at him.

“She is allowed to have a difference of opinion. She is allowed to question us for the things that she believes she needs as a board member,” he said. “She is not allowed to get into my face. She is not allowed to poke the board president in the chest. She is not allowed to behave like that.”

He said she exhibited “Jekyll and Hyde” behavior on the street. He said he has told Schrauth Forcucci, “I feel intimidated and harassed by you. Get out of my personal space.”

He also said he believes that Board Member Sally Stephenson was trying to intimidate him during his testimony when she moved her chair back and forth. But he also said while he has disagreements with Stephenson and Board Member Holly Balaya, they did not get in his personal space