Timing of notification about students who brought knives to school divides New Britain parents

NEW BRITAIN --  New controversy surrounding New Britain school officials handling of a potential threat involving students and weapons is dividing parents in the city.

The New Britain School District has launched an internal investigation into an incident every parent dreads.

In a letter sent to parents,  Principal Alejandro Ortiz said two fourth grade students at the Diloreto Elementary and Middle School were suspended after bringing weapons to school.

“You’re sending your son to school,” said New Britain resident Gloria Hill-Deandrade. “You got to make sure they got everything in tact and the books and everything. Check them before the go to school.”

School district officials said it happened on April 17th when Ortiz learned one student had a knife.

When confronted, that student later revealed that another student also brought a knife to school, which turned out to be a box cutter.

“There is a strong degree of trust between you the best driver of the bus company to school teachers and to a degree the other students that are in the school,” said Gordon Burns, who also lives in New Britain.

Ortiz said the families of the students were notified and the students were suspended.

District officials also confirm the letter notifying parents of the incident was sent on April 24th, which was a week after it happened. New Britain parents are split over whether the school should have notified parents sooner.

“Oh I would want to know right away because first of all my child should not be going to school with any kind of weapon or any names or anything,” Deandrade said.

Hill-Deandrade’s son is a junior at New Britain High School.

She also believes there is blame to go around.

“Parents mainly because first of all you are letting your child go to school,” Deandrade said. “You’re watching your child go out the door, you know what he’s got in his pockets, his book bag, and everything."

Gordon Burns son, Desmond, goes to pre-K in New Britain.

As a parent, Burns said it is a little more complicated for him.

“Part of me would want to know what’s going on in school but another part of me, maybe the part that worries a lot, would prefer not to be aware of all the details,” Burns said.

The New Britain father said that includes the details that won’t change anything.

Ortiz also said appropriate measures regarding a safety plan and support for the families of the students and students themselves are being considered.