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Montville assistant principal put on paid leave, unrelated to ‘fight club’

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MONTVILLE --  Former Montville High School acting assistant principal Phil Orbe is out after just days on the job.

“I have to say I’m disappointed maybe even a little shocked,” said Montville parent Beth Rice.

Assistant Superintendent Laurie Pallin said Orbe has been placed on paid leave over comments made to a student, making him the fourth school administrator to make headlines in recent weeks.

“We are addressing all issues with heightened scrutiny and the seriousness and attention they deserve,” Pallin said during a press conference Tuesday. “For that reason the high school assistant principal was placed on leave yesterday swimming from a completely unrelated incident.”

Pallin will not say what Orbe said to the student but Orbe tells The Day of New London that while reprimanding a student for having a backpack in the halls, he said in a joking manner, "Do I have to throw you down the hallway?"

She did tell FOX61 News that Orbe has a good relationship with the student, who understood the joke.

Three administrators were charged last week with failing to report abuse in connection withan in-school "fight club," allegedly supervised by former substitute teacher, Ryan Fish, which isn't part of this investigation.

It is still unsettling news in the scandal-plagued town for Rice whose daughter attended school there and whose son is still in the Montville school system.

“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Rice said. “I have always had confidence in the schools in the past.”

The latest shakeup follows last Thursday’s arrest of Superintendent Brian Levesque, Montville High School Asistant Principal Tatiana Patten and Principle Jeffrey Theodoss.

All three administrators were charged with failing to report abuse after learning about the fighting and failing to alert authorities.

In an exclusive interview, Levesque told FOX61 News he fired Fish immediately after finding out about one fight but didn’t report it to authorities because he thought it was an isolated incident.

“It wasn’t until much later that I learned there were other videos that I didn’t learn until December,” Levesque said. “Had I learned in October what I learned in December we would’ve definitely called the police.”

“Even if it was a one time situation, it’s still a situation that's got to be stopped,” Rice said.

Still, Rice is remaining optimistic about her hometown’s future.

“Let’s hope we can move forward,” Rice said.

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