Police sirens

A Carrolltown teacher's aide working at Richland Elementary School last month has been charged with drinking inside a classroom and hiding his beer in a backpack.

Nicholas J. Galczynski, 26, was taken into custody after school administrators realized he had been drinking in school – and police discovered Yuengling beer inside his coffee tumbler, Richland police Chief Michael Burgan said.

A search of Galczynski's backpack revealed three cans of beer, police wrote in a criminal complaint.

Galczynski was identified as a teacher's aide through The Learning Lamp that was assigned to provide classroom support at the school.

Richland School District Superintendent Arnold Nadonley said police were notified after an assistant principal smelled alcohol on the aide's breath.

Galczynski was brought to the school office and he admitted that he was drinking in school, he said.

"Within an hour from the initial report, he was removed from our district as a contracted employee," Nadonley said. "He was gone."

"In my 31 years in education, I've never had a situation like this. But it ended instantly," said Nadonley, who notified The Tribune-Democrat of the incident.

Because of confidentiality requirements, Learning Lamp Executive Director Leah Spangler said she could not discuss specifics about Galczynski's status with The Learning Lamp, but said the agency "handled the matter immediately upon learning of the incident."

"As an organization, we have a very clear employee policy that drug and alcohol use is not appropriate in the workplace," she said, describing child safety is the nonprofit's top priority.

The Learning Lamp employs more than 500 individuals in the educational field, who work in fields such as child care and school aid support across several counties, Spangler said.

"Unfortunately, there are times we can't control the individual actions of one person. But we can respond to it immediately when it occurs. And that's what we did."

Nadonley said both the Richland School District and The Learning Lamp filed a formal "educators misconduct" complaint against Galczynski with the Department of Education.

"We've had hundreds of their employees over the years and we've never had a problem like this before," he said. "The Learning Lamp fully cooperated with the district."

The Educators Misconduct complaint will initiate a separate investigation into the incident by state education officials.

Regarding his Richland charges, Galczynski is accused of disorderly conduct and recklessly endangering another person in the incident, with police saying he left the alcohol unattended in an area where children could have gotten access to it.

Online court records indicate Galczynski was notified of his charges through a certified summons to his residence.

Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful Thursday because it appeared he had an unlisted number.

He currently awaits a Feb. 12 preliminary hearing.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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