The principal of the Frank DiLoreto Magnet School in New Britain has been suspended for four days following an investigation into his response to two students bringing weapons to the elementary school in mid-April, according to district sources.
District sources told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters that Principal Alejandro Ortiz is serving a four-day, unpaid suspension following an internal investigation by the New Britain School District Superintendent into his handling of an incident involving two fourth grade boys who brought a box cutter and a knife to school. According to district policy, bringing these kinds of weapons to school is a felony and is subject to expulsion.
Sources previously told the Troubleshooters that the boys planned to harm students and staff and there was a specific threat to one female teacher.
“The disciplinary action imposed was based on the results of the internal investigation, which showed although no laws were violated, the response time in notifying families, staff, and students was not acceptable in accordance with New Britain’s standards,” said Matthew Cannata, spokesman for the Consolidated School District of New Britain.
A source familiar with the incident told the Troubleshooters that “It was not handled appropriately or in a timely manner and lives were at stake. The kids are terrified and unfocused and it is not a healthy atmosphere,” sources previously told the Troubleshooters.
The Troubleshooters also obtained an undated letter from Ortiz to all fourth-grade families that said the boys’ were immediately suspended.
Sources familiar with the situation said the incident happened April 17 and the letter went home a week later. The same sources said the initial suspension for the boys was three days, but it was extended to an eight-day suspension for each after a meeting with teachers.
Ortiz did notify the central office the same day the incident happened and the administrative staff followed the correct reporting procedures, according to district officials.
New Britain Police said they were called April 19, officers investigated a threat and it was turned over to the youth division. Officers followed up with the families and determined everyone was safe at the time.
Police said they have finished their investigation and that both juveniles were referred to a diversionary program in the Juvenile Justice System.
NBC Connecticut reached Ortiz by phone who told us, “Unfortunately, I was told not to make any comments.“