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Bulkeley High School football coach fired, under investigation by DCF

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Pablo Ortiz Credit: Cloe Poisson / Hartford Courant

HARTFORD — The varsity football coach at Bulkeley High School in Hartford has been fired. Pablo Ortiz Jr. is under investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), according to both the superintendent and DCF.

“The Department takes incidents such as this very seriously and has the highest expectations for its staff, especially related to child safety,” DCF said in a statement. “The employee currently is the subject of an investigation.”

Ortiz was given a letter on Friday, January 27 that said “Please be advised that effective immediately, the Hartford Public Schools will no longer require your services as an Athletic Coach of any sport or capacity.”

Both the school district and DCF released very little information about the situation involving Ortiz.

“The first priority of the Hartford Public Schools is to ensure student safety,” said Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodríguez. “As Acting Superintendent of Schools, I will not allow any unacceptable staff behavior during my tenure. In the unfortunate event that, despite our best efforts to the contrary, individuals engage in inappropriate interactions with students, with their families, with staff or with any of the visitors who come to our schools and events, such individuals will be dealt with swiftly in accordance with the policies established by the Hartford Board of Education.

Furthermore, we have recently provided enhanced district-wide training for employees regarding Board policy on “Reports of Suspected Abuse or Neglect of Children or Sexual Assault of Students by School Employees.” I have made it the highest level of priority for district leadership and for all staff to receive this training and comply with the Board’s policy. Hartford Public Schools is currently investigating allegations of possible failures in the reporting process and will comment further upon the conclusion of the investigation. In the meantime, please know that all appropriate steps are being taken to ensure the safety of our students.”

This story will be updated as we learn more.