Teacher in Duct Tape Incident at Southington High School Won't Be Charged: Police

Police have ruled that a Southington High School English teacher accused of duct taping a student's desk to discipline him in class did not break the law. 

The teacher told another English teacher that he had done the craziest thing he had ever done in his teaching career -- duct taped a student into his desk, police said.  She reported it to her supervisor and then the school assistant principal and principal, who had her fill out a DCF form. Then the assistant superintendent reported it to Southington police.

When a student's attention was wandering after multiple requests from the teacher in question to do the assignment, the teacher grabbed the student's desk and chair, dragging it to the back of the room with the student in it and spinning it around to face the wall, the teacher admitted to police and Southington school leaders. The teacher also admitted to authorities to putting duct tape around the desk and chair and said that it was intended to be funny.

That happened during a silent sustained reading and annotating assignment in a "lower level college preparation class" that has many students in it with learning deficits, the teacher told police.

The student and his parents told police he doesn't have disciplinary problems and that he was having a hard time focusing, so he looked around the room before the incident ocurred. The student told police that when his teacher disciplined him, "the whole class started giggling." He told police he was "shocked and a little embarrassed."

The teacher walked up to the student at the end of class and shook his hand, thanking him for having a sense of humor about the incident, according to the police report.  The teacher said in a statement to police and school district leaders that he recalled the student smiling.

The teacher provided a statement to police and Southington's school board, apologizing.

"Humor has always been an effective classroom management tool for me, especially with more challenging classes. This incident while very clearly an act of poor judgment was actually meant to be funny. I see no humor in it now. The duct tape was a class room management tool," the teacher said in the statement. "I am ashamed of my actions and I can only hope that I have the opportunity to meet with (the student) and his family to apologize, to assure them that this will never happen again, and the assure them that (the student's) safety and self esteem are very important to me."

The student's name was redacted from the police report.

A Southington detective contacted the assistant superintendent to see if the school board wanted a criminal investigation into the incident and he said no, notifying the detective that the school board had initiated an administrative investigation. The detective told him he was confused because he knew a DCF report had been filed and he had been told the school board wanted the incident investigated. The assistant superintendent told the detective that "on things like this with a CDF referral, the BOE keeps in touch" with the police captain. Police wanted the incident looked into in the event it was an unlawful restraint situation, police said.

The Southington assistant superintendent told police that the duct tape never touched the student and that he could have walked over it at any time, police said.

Upon interviewing the teacher, administrators, the student and parents, Southington police determined "no violation of criminal law regarding this incident was found as a result of this investigation," police said.

Police have closed the investigation and do not anticipate any arrests.

There is no word on whether the Southington school district has disciplined the teacher.

The teacher in question has taught English at Southington High School for eight years and is currently a 10th grade English teacher. He has also coached rugby and football at the high school for six years.

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