An English teacher at South Windsor High School has been placed on leave after directing students to read what school officials are calling a "highly inappropriate" poem.
The superintendent's office sent a letter to teacher David Olio on Monday notifying him of his suspension. According to his website, Olio graduated from Trinity College and has taught English at South Windsor High School since 1996.
"As we discussed at our meeting, you have been placed on paid administrative leave while we investigate the concerns that have been brought to our attention," Asst. Supt. Colin J. McNamara wrote in the letter.
McNamara said Olio is not allowed to contact students or enter school property during his suspension. While the South Windsor Board of Education is investigating, police said they are not taking part. Olio is not facing any charges.
The controversy stems from an assignment during which Olio allegedly asked students to read a sexually charged poem in class. The poem has been identified as "Please Master" by Allen Ginsberg and depicts sex between men.
Allen Ginsberg, an icon of the 50s and 60s known for his sexually explicit writings, is described by the Poetry Foundation as one of the most acclaimed poets of his generation.
In an email to parents, Supt. Kate Carter said both students and parents expressed concern on social media following the assignment. Carter said parents were notified immediately.
“I do wish to emphasize that we take seriously the trust that parents place in teachers and administrators,” Carter wrote, “and we do not tolerate the use of inappropriate materials in classroom settings.”
Olio could not be reached for comment Monday. An email sent to his school account received an automatic reply saying, "I'm sorry, but I'm not available for contact at this time."