Principal, teacher at a Hartford magnet school both placed on leave

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HARTFORD — A principal and a teacher at a Hartford magnet school has been placed on leave following an investigation, according to Pedro Zayas, director of communications and marketing of Hartford Public Schools.

“At Hartford Public Schools the safety of our students is our highest priority. The school district has placed staff on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation of an alleged incident at the Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker,” said Zayas in a statement.

Zayas said Principal Lindsey Thompson of Mary Hooker Magnet School was placed on leave. The teacher has not been identified at this time.

Friday morning, the Central Office leadership held separate meetings at the school with parents and staff “to make sure we are all aware of the situation,” said Zayas.

Limited information has been released about the incident but Zayas did say no students are at risk at this time.

“In recent months, the Hartford Public Schools District deployed the action plan in response to the report of the office of the child advocate. The OCA report identified serious failings in the district’s procedures, practices, and culture regarding mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect dating back to 2007,” said Zayas.

“In collaboration with partner agencies including the OCA, the District has revised mandated reporter training compliance and informed staff about the resulting disciplinary action for failure to comply with our moral and statutory obligations. The District has also implemented the “Tell Someone” safety campaign for students, staff, families, and community organizations along with the Department of Children and Families’ child safety messaging.

In September, the District agreed to terms with an Independent Monitor to oversee and render accountability as we change our practices, procedures, and culture to assure that all students are safe in our schools.”

Lindsey Thompson released the following statement:

“This is your principal Lindsey Thompson. One of our teachers has been placed on leave as a precautionary measure. The District takes these matters very seriously and has been in the process of providing additional safeguards in conjunction with appropriate State agencies to better serve the safety of our student population.  In the current matter, we are taking swift action to investigate and address concerns brought to the Administration.  At this time there is no risk of danger to our students.”

Hartford mayor Luke Bronin also weighed in saying:

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our students, and any allegations of this kind must be taken very seriously.  Hartford Public Schools has placed two individuals on leave pending an internal investigation.  I have spoken personally to Chief Rovella about this issue and the Hartford Police Department’s Special Investigations Division is conducting an investigation as well.”

In addition to the statements, Hartford public schools also brought to light a new safety campaign as part of the district’s action plan in response to district failures to report suspected child abuse and neglect. For more information, click here.

No additional information has been released as police continue their investigation.