School board makes policy changes in wake of Hilton principal’s sex assault conviction


HILTON, N.Y. – The Hilton Board of Education has sent parents a letter detailing an internal investigation following the criminal conviction of Kirk Ashton, a former principal at Northwood Elementary. It’s also been posted to the district’s website.

This internal investigation took a little over four months.

Led by an outside law firm, it launched several weeks after Ashton was sentenced to 63 years in prison.

In a letter to parents, the school board president says, “There’s no indication that any one person understood the egregious acts being committed by the principal.”

News10NBC’s Eriketa Cost asked to speak to Hilton Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek. That request was denied. She also called all seven board members this afternoon, but again, no comment from anyone, including President Mark Hillburger.

The letter outlines actions taken by the district since Ashton’s arrest and conviction.

The third-party law firm Ferrara Fiorenza PC recommends policy changes the district has adopted or will adopt shortly.

This includes clarifying language in student and staff relations’ policies, adding that employees can be terminated for retaliating against whistleblowers who report complaints or serve as investigation witnesses.

The reports about Ashton’s behavior came to light in April 2021. It’s been a long journey of emotions and even reliving painful memories for some.

The letter says the outside firm reviewed the district’s trainings that were put in place in 2021, concluding that since since, Hilton Central has provided “more than adequate training.”

The letter also touches on “Road to Recovery“, a child sexual abuse prevention action plan dated 2021.

That outlines the goals for screening employees, reinforcing a culture of safety and reporting, and emotional support.

The letter is signed by the board president.

It notes that Hilton Central has been through a great deal over the past two years, complimenting the community for facing the challenges of the painful events at Northwood Elementary.

The law firm that handled the investigation declined to comment.

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