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Batavia High School teacher speaks out before hearing

BATAVIA – Batavia High School social studies teacher John Dryden said he just wanted to let his students know their rights before answering an in-class survey about emotional and at-risk behavior.

"I advised my students that they had a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves," Dryden said Tuesday. "It was not my intention for them not to take the survey."

As a result of his actions, Dryden, who has taught at the high school for 20 years, said he was docked a day's pay. The Batavia School Board is set to discuss the matter in closed session tonight at its regular board meeting.

He has his supporters, including Batavia High School sophomore Lucy Farrell, who believes that  Dryden, was looking out for his students.

“There were other teachers who told the students the exact same thing, and he got called out on it,” Farrell said. “He is being treated unfairly.”

Farrell said she plans to address board members before the closed session. She said she respects him as a teacher.

“I have respect for where he is coming from, and he knows where I am coming from,” Farrell said. “I appreciate everything he does.”

Greg Romaneck, the district’s director of human services, said he would not confirm nor deny that Dryden will face a disciplinary hearing Tuesday.

“That would be a violation of their confidentiality,” he said.

Emily Farrell, Lucy’s mother, said she was upset that students’ names were pre-printed on the surveys, which asked students whether they had used drugs or alcohol.

“That’s a complete invasion of personal information,” she said. “They were asking very personal questions.”

An online petition at has garnered more than 1,000 signatures supporting Dryden.

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