Hartford Public Schools Amending Guidelines After Incident With Student - NBC Connecticut

Hartford Public Schools Amending Guidelines After Incident With Student

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hartford Updating Policies After Incident With Student

    The Hartford School District is changing its policies on reporting employee misconduct, child abuse and child neglect.

    (Published Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017)

    The school district in Hartford appears to be updating its Employee Conduct, Child Abuse and Neglect Incident checklist for the second time this year.

    Administrators were pulled into meetings on Tuesday at the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy with the Office of Talent Management to learn about the changes less than a week after a principal and teacher at The Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker were placed on paid leave.

    It's the second time the district’s reporting policies have been amended recently. The first time was after an investigation was completed and released in early 2017 by the Office of the Child Advocate. That report found the district was handling abuse complaints improperly for years.

    Side by side, the documents obtained exclusively by the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters look almost identical.

    NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters combed through checklists for reporting employee misconduct, child abuse and neglect at Hartford Public Schools. Added to the new version is that after school officials call the Department of Children and Families (DCF) within twelve hours and assessing harm, they must now also notify parents and guardians.

    It's a new move less than a week following a recent complaint at Mary Hooker Magnet school involving a male teacher and 11-year-old girl. District officials said the DCF was notified.

    While that's being investigated by the district and Hartford police, the principal and teacher remain on paid leave.

    Once statements from everyone involved are obtained, the next new step is to figure out if the incident is employee related. Then, they must complete an online report in a new program called I-Sight. After, if necessary, they call the police.

    Next, the list says to notify a supervisor and fill out the proper DCF paperwork within 48 hours and call Labor Relations.

    The "paid leave portion" appears revamped also.

    "If the allegation relates to physical or sexual abuse or any other behavior that is seriously disruptive to the educational/work environment or otherwise compromises student or staff safety, the employee shall immediately be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation into his or her behavior."

    The final step, which is also new, is a communication plan for anyone who might be affected when someone is put on leave. That includes detailing what support is put in place for students. A district spokesman did not have a comment for NBC Connecticut, when contacted about these documents.

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