Shelton High: District to begin its own probe

Shelton High School Headmaster Beth Smith presents at an education conference in Shanghai in April 2018.

Education officials will begin their own investigation into Shelton High administrators later this week.

This news came from school Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet only days after local law enforcement closed its six-week investigation into Shelton High Principal Beth Smith and Assistant Principal John Skerritt with no charges to be filed in the case.

“The nature of the district’s investigation will be different,” said Clouet, declining to elaborate on the specifics, adding that this is a “personnel matter.

“Our investigation will have different standards than a police investigation,” Clouet said. “Our investigation will look at what happened in relation to the standards of our policies and professional code of conduct.”

Shelton Police began investigating Smith and Skerritt in late March after police were called to the high school in response to an incident involving two students.

Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira said the department was attempting to determine if school personnel were following the proper protocols and procedures, in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes, when dealing with potentially criminal situations.

In response, Clouet placed Smith on paid administrative leave. Skerritt assumed the interim principal role until he was also placed on paid administrative leave in early April by Clouet after it was learned that Skerritt was also under investigation in the case.

Clouet said he expects the school district’s investigation to be complete by the end of the school year.

“I understand the public’s impatience,” Clouet said. “We don’t want to drag our feet, but we have to obtain the reports from the police investigation before making any decisions. We need to see how they came to their conclusions, then we can go forward.”

Shelton Police announced on Friday that the case was closed and no charges would be filed against any Shelton High School administrators.

“There will be no criminal arrests in this case,” Shelton Police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said Friday. “The case is now closed.”

Kozlowsky would not comment on the alleged incident involving the two students which sparked this investigation, saying only that the police department found no criminal wrongdoing and expected that the school system and law enforcement would continue to have a “good working relationship.”

“The Police Department and the school system have had a long, positive relationship, and the department looks forward to continuing to work together in a positive way,” said Kozlowsky.

When asked about the length of the investigation, Kozlowsky said the department never puts a time frame on such cases, instead taking as long as necessary to complete a thorough review of the situation.

“We believe in doing a complete investigation,” said Kozlowsky, “and that can take time.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com