A New Britain special education teacher is free on bond after pleading not guilty Thursday morning to charges she abused three young autistic boys in her class at the Chamberlain School.
Michelle Campbell, 36, appeared before a judge at New Britain Superior Court while angry parents gathered outside the courthouse. The parents were angered, not only by the allegations, but by the fact that they were never notified by the school district that the teacher was investigated by the State's Department of Children and Families last spring.
The parents only learned about the investigation when they were tipped off by another staffer.
According to a parents' advocate, Campbell is accused of locking the children - ages five through seven - in dark closets, strapping them down, yelling in their ears and spraying water up their noses and in their mouths, making it difficult to breath.
The schools Superintendent, Doris Kurtz, says, "It's not our job to contact parents" in the event of a police investigation of a teacher. She added that she "could not recall" whether parents had been contacted about the DCF investigation.
The teacher is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.