NEW BRITAIN – The principal of Diloreto Magnet School was given a four-day suspension after an internal investigation into his handling an April incident in which two fourth-graders brought weapons to school, sources close to the school district said.
The investigation, which school officials said started on April 30, revealed that Alejandro Ortiz inappropriately delayed calling police and notifying parents, staff and students about the discovery that one fourth-grader had brought a knife to school on April 17, after which staff found that another fourth-grader had brought a box cutter to school.
“The response time in notifying families, staff and students was not acceptable in accordance with our standards,” School Superintendent Nancy Sarra said in a statement. “Although no laws were violated, we never want our families, students and staff to be worried about what is happening at their school. Thus, appropriate disciplinary action has been taken regarding the personnel involved.”
School officials are declining to comment on what action was taken against the principal. Sources said Ortiz received a four-day suspension. Staff at the school said Ortiz was “unavailable” to talk on Wednesday afternoon.
The students have served suspensions and are back in school, officials said. According to district policies, the students could have faced suspensions of up to 10 days and will likely face an expulsion hearing. School officials have not provided information on why the students brought the weapons to school.
Ortiz was criticized by parents for waiting a week to send out a notice – and only to fourth-grade parents -- about the discovery of the weapons. No notice was given to other parents until Ortiz sent out an automated phone call on Sunday, parents said.
Police confirmed that they had received a “threatening” complaint about the weapons two days after the knives were found. The investigation continues.
“I didn’t hear about it until it was in the news,” said parent Ashley Miranda, whose daughter attends the preschool program at Diloreto. “I texted her teacher and the para[professional] who works in the room, and neither of them knew about it.”
In the phone message, Ortiz apologized for the delay in notifying people of the incident, said Miranda, who called the apology too little, too late. “We haven’t heard from Nancy Sarra, which is very unusual,” Miranda said. “It’s really unnerving. It’s broken my trust.”
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.