NEW BRITAIN - A fourth-grader carrying a knife threatened to kill students and kill and rape a teacher during an April incident that led to the suspension of the school’s principal for insubordination, a report released by the district Thursday said.
The fourth-grade student showed the weapon to other kids and discussed the plot creating an atmosphere of “terror” within the grade level at DiLoreto Magnet School, teachers told administrators during an investigation on how the incident was handled.
Teachers also said Principal Alejandro Ortiz suspended the child and another fourth-grade student who also had a weapon for three days “pending further investigation,” but failed to call police and failed to take the incident seriously. Ortiz did call the state Department of Children and Families but did not call police “because he stated he did not want students in the system,” the report stated.
The student allegedly told other students he wanted to “rape and kill” a specific teacher and kill students and “brandished a knife on students.”
Students alerted school staff about the student who was found to be carrying a knife. The boy admitted the plot and that a second child was involved, school officials said Thursday.
Ortiz also told the teacher who was targeted by the student that she was a “hot babe and very popular,” forcing him to later apologize. It was a teacher, not Ortiz, who called police on April 19 to report what happened, the report said.
According to school officials, Schools Superintendent Nancy Sarra was notified by the principal about the incident on the day the incident occurred. Attempts to reach Sarra for comment were unsuccessful.
Parents were notified a week after the April 17 incident at the insistence of teachers and Ortiz met with students to discuss the incident, also at the insistence of the teachers, the report said. The school system initiated an internal investigation into how Ortiz handled the situation on May 2 after reports that two fourth grade students had brought weapons to the school began circulating in the media at the end of April.
The findings of the investigation also concluded that the school’s safety plan was not widely known by all teachers and Ortiz didn’t submit the expulsion paperwork for the kids - which would have started the process of expulsion hearings - until April 26. The students received additional suspension days, school officials said. But the school system did not provide information Thursday on whether they still attend DiLoreto School.
Ortiz was given a four-day unpaid suspension for insubordination by failing to follow district procedures and protocols and failing to communicate to staff and parents. He admitted during the investigation that “he did not respond to the incident adequately,” the report said.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.